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17 Oct, 2007 14:25

Turkish parliament approves strike against Kurds

The Turkish parliament has approved by a large majority cross-border military operations against Kurdish separatists in Northern Iraq .The last time the government approved the use of force it was never used.

The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has played down expectations of an imminent offensive, but the parliamentary approval provides the legal basis for NATO's second biggest army to cross the mountainous border as and when it sees fit.

The U.S. President urged Turkey not to launch any major attack.

“We’re making it very clearly at Turkey that we don’t think it is in their interests to send our troops in Iraq. Actually they have troops already stationed in Iraq for quite a while. We don’t think it’s necessary to send more troops there,” he stated.

There are currently 60,000 Turkish troops in the border areas of south-eastern Turkey who are ready for action and are just awaiting orders from their commanders in Ankara.

Oil prices rose to over $US 88 a barrel amid concerns that a Turkish incursion could disrupt crude supplies from Northern Iraq.

The situation on the border has worsened after a new wave of cross-border attacks on Turkish villages launched from Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish province.

The rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have been fighting the Turkish military in Northern Iraq since 1984. In the time since then and up to1997, Turkish troops have conducted dozens of large-scale operations usually involving several tens of thousands of soldiers.