Turkey’s Erdogan says he’ll back military request for Iraqi incursion

ANKARA, Turkey — Speaking to reporters Thursday (May 24th), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed government support for the military if it decides to launch a cross-border operation against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. Erdogan said he is confident that Parliament would back it as well, especially after the Ankara bomb blast Tuesday that killed six people and injured 100.

Also Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry urged Iraqi authorities to go after the PKK. “We expect urgent and resolute measures,” the ministry said in a statement. Although the PKK has denied responsibility for the shopping mall blast, the Turkish government is convinced there is a link.

In other news Thursday, a Turkish court acquitted nine human rights workers and journalists, including a Reuters correspondent, charged with helping the PKK. The suspects were arrested while covering the August 2005 handover of a Turkish soldier who had been held prisoner by the terrorist group.

On Friday, PKK rebels derailed seven cars of a freight train near the town of Genc, in the southeastern Bingol province, using a remote controlled bomb. There were no known injuries. (Zaman, Hurriyet, Milliyet, AP, AFP – 25/05/07; AP, Reuters – 24/05/07)

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