Turkish forces enter Iraq

The Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, today told Turkey not to “violate” the country after Turkish troops entered northern Iraq to attack Kurdish rebels.

Several hundred troops – some reports claimed thousands – crossed the border after fighter jets and heavy artillery bombed Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK) forces.

The PKK said two Turkish soldiers were killed and eight wounded in clashes following the incursion, but Turkey refused to comment on the claim.

A rebel spokesman pledged that fighters would “prevent Turkish army from entering deep in the Iraqi land”.

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan – who said he had given both his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, and the US president, George, Bush advance warning – defended the raid as “just”. He said the only targets were “PKK camps located in the north of Iraq”.

However, a Baghdad spokesman said Talabani had told the Turkish head of state, Abdullah Gul, that Ankara “should respect Iraq’s unity and sovereignty and not violate its lands”.

The spokesman added that Iraq considered the PKK’s actions in Turkey to be “terrorist”.

In a statement, Turkish military officials said the incursion had been launched yesterday evening.



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