Turkish Lawmakers Approve Attacks on Iraq

Turkey's parliament has passed a motion authorizing military attacks against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. The United States government and Iraqi leaders have warned Turkey not to enter Iraq.

Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of Iraq's parliament about the motion, says the approval for the attacks was expected, but the Iraqi people are concerned because the incursions could destabilize the Kurdish region — one of the nation's stable areas.

Instead, Othman says, Turkey should try to solve the problem through peaceful means.

Othman contends the Kurds do not want to get involved in Turkey's affairs, but the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, are using the Kurdish region to hide from the Turks.

As tense as the situation is, it might have grown worse recently. The U.S. House is considering a resolution to define the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Turkey as "genocide." The U.S. control over Iraq could give Turkey — which opposes the resolution — an extra incentive to carry out the incursions.

Othman talks to Alex Cohen about the situation.

Turkey Approves Action Against Kurd Rebels in Iraq

Turkey's Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved the possibility of military action against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq.

The government stressed that an attack against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, is not necessarily imminent and appeared willing to give the U.S.-backed Iraqi administration more time to crack down on the militants.

Turkish lawmakers burst into applause after a 507-19 vote in favor of allowing the government to order the military to cross into Iraq over a one-year period, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said.

In Washington, President Bush said the United States has made it clear that Turkey should not send a massive number of troops into Iraq.

Bush said Turkey has had troops stationed in Iraq for sometime. "We don't think it's in their interest to send more troops in," the president said.

Iraqi Envoy Visits Istanbul

Bush also noted that Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi was in Istanbul, Turkey, to meet with Turkish leaders and express concerns about terrorist activities.

"What I'm telling you is that there's a lot of dialogue going on and that's positive," President Bush said.

Hours before the vote, Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called his Turkish counterpart to say that his government was determined to halt the "terrorist activities" of the PKK on Iraqi territory.

Al-Maliki also emphasized the need for the two nations to continue to talk, his office said.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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