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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Thousands of Iraqi Kurds Rally Against Threat of Turkish Incursion

By VOA News
18 October 2007

Thousands of Kurds have rallied in northern Iraq to protest a Turkish parliament decision authorizing military incursions against Kurdish rebels in Iraq.

Government workers, students and others waved Kurdish flags and shouted slogans praising Kurdish identity Thursday as they marched to a U.N. building in Irbil, the seat of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish regional government. The protesters delivered a letter to U.N. officials calling on the world body to intervene and prevent a Turkish military operation inside Iraq.

The measure approved by Turkey's parliament Wednesday gives authorization lasting one year for cross-border military action in northern Iraq. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said passage of the motion does not mean an attack is imminent.

Iraqi Kurdish leaders have warned that any Turkish operation in northern Iraq would threaten the relative stability of the region.

President Bush said Wednesday he does not think it is in Turkey's interests to send troops into Iraq. He said Washington understands Turkish concerns about the Kurdish rebels, but that there is a better way to deal with the issue than sending in a massive number of troops.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki telephoned his Turkish counterpart before the vote Wednesday to repeat his commitment to stopping Kurdish rebels from using Iraq to attack inside Turkey.

Turkey blames Iraq-based rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party for attacks that have killed about 30 soldiers and civilians in the past two weeks.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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