Turkey defies Iraq with aircraft attacks on rebel areas: reports


A Turkish policeman watches over a protest against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on October 9, 2011, at Gemlik in Bursa.


Bulent Kilic

Reports say Turkey bombed Kurdish rebel outposts in northern Iraq overnight, a move likely to further stoke growing Iraq-Turkey hostility, according to the Associated Press.

Reports of the strikes have not been officially confirmed.  

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But Turkey's private Dogan news, citing unnamed officials, said Turkish aircraft struck four bases believed tied to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that has been waging a guerilla war on Turkey for decades, reported the Associated Press

The PKK is a hotbutton issue for Turkey. Ankara earlier lashed out at neighboring Syria, a country it is now openly fighting, accusing the Damascus of aiding the rebel group. Turkey, along with the US and Europe, considers the PKK a terrorist organization. (Rumor has it that if Syria is indeed helping the PKK, it is at Russia's bidding, a view Turkey has rejected.)

Turkish military officials today told Agence-France Press on the condition of anonymity that PKK rebel areas in Iraq were targeted in overnight strikes. There were no immediate reports of casualties. 

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh today condemned any such Turkish airstrikes on Iraqi soil, saying they are "not acceptable," adding that Baghdad will respond with "the necessary diplomatic measures," reported AP.

Baghdad on Tuesday announced that it would no longer tolerate foreign intervention -- a statement seen as directed at Turkey's military activity in the north, according to AFP. Tensions between the two nations have been on the rise. 

Meanwhile, PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz today told AP that Turkish plans had bombed some bases but they were all areas that rebels had left a long time ago.