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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkish PM demands closure of rebel camps in Iraq

RIA Novosti

19/10/2007 18:14 ANKARA, October 19 (RIA Novosti) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan put forward two conditions on Friday that could prevent Ankara from launching a military strike against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

Turkey's parliament sanctioned on Wednesday military cross-border operations against around 3,500 militants from the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), believed to be based in Iraq, following a government request earlier this week.

"We have started preparations [for the military operation]," Erdogan told reporters, commenting on the calls from Baghdad to refrain from any military action.

"What will satisfy us is the closure of all PKK camps, including their training facilities, and the handover of the terrorist leaders to us," he said.

Turkey's National Security Council will discuss on October 24 an "action plan" following parliament's decision, which authorizes a military operation for one year but sets out no specific timetable.

The Turkish military has prepared several scenarios for a cross-border operation in northern Iraq to counter Kurdish rebels. The country has been amassing troops in provinces bordering on Iraq, and shelling suspected rebel positions along the border.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy status in southeast Turkey for nearly 25 years, and recently intensified attacks along the border with Iraq. The conflict has claimed about 40,000 lives.

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