Iran urges self-restraint by Turkey

Interior Minster Mostafa Purmohammadi here on Wednesday stated that Iran has asked Ankara to consider all issues regarding the recent clashes between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish army so to prevent future crisis in the region.

“We have asked the Turks to show self-restraint so to prevent any further crisis in the region,” Purmohammadi told reporters at the end of a cabinet meeting.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is against adding “fuel to the fire” on this issue, he added.

Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops along the border and vowed to crush the PKK terrorists, who have launched two major ambushes in the past month, killing at least 25 Turkish soldiers.

Turkish officials say talks next Monday between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President George W. Bush will be crucial in determining whether Turkey carries out its threats of a major cross-border offensive against an estimated 3,000 PKK members holed up in northern Iraq.

Economic sanctions and border closures have also been presented alternative options to military action until spring. Sanctions could include closing the Habur border gate through which $3 billion in trade now passes annually. A large quantity of American military supplies also pass through the Habur gate, but Ankara is now exploring the possibility of diverting Turkish trade with Iraq through a number of Syrian border crossings, avoiding Kurdish Iraq all together.

In the presently charged atmosphere, the Turkish business community has expressed wide support for economic measures if necessary. In the event of economic sanctions by Turkey, Iraq’s government may save the PKK the trouble of cutting the pipelines to Ceyhan. Iraqi speaker of Parliament Mahmud al-Mashhadani warned on October 25 that the Iraqi government would cut the flow of oil to Ceyhan should Ankara apply sanctions



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