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Iraqi Parliament Condemns Turkish Air Strikes in Northern Iraq

By VOA News
17 December 2007

Iraq's parliament has condemned Turkish air strikes on a Kurdish region in northern Iraq as a major violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Iraqi lawmakers issued the condemnation Monday in response to Sunday's raids by Turkish warplanes in Iraq's Qandil mountains.

Turkey says the attacks were aimed only at rebel bases of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. But Iraqi Kurdish officials say several villages sustained heavy damage and at least one civilian was killed. The rebels say they lost five of their fighters.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says it appears the Turkish air strikes were based on misinformation because civilians were hurt.

He says the Iraqi government understands Turkey's concerns about the presence of PKK rebels in northern Iraq. But Zebari says Ankara should coordinate any attacks on rebels inside Iraq with the Baghdad government.

U.S. officials say they received advance warning from Turkey about Sunday's bombing raids.

Turkish military chief General Yasar Buyukanit says the U.S. gave tacit approval to the raids by opening northern Iraq's airspace to Turkish aircraft. The U.S. promised last month to share intelligence with Turkey about the PKK.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Sunday's air strikes a success and said his government will continue to battle the PKK both inside and outside Turkey.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.



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