Iraq urges Turkey to solve crisis through diplomacy

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s government urged Turkey on Monday not to resort to military action and to seek a diplomatic solution to end attacks by Kurdish separatists in northern Iraq.

Turkey’s cabinet asked parliament on Monday for permission to launch cross-border operations on the separatists, who use the mountainous north of Iraq as a base for attacks in Turkey.

“The Iraqi government calls on the Turkish government to pursue a diplomatic solution and not a military solution to solve the (problem) of terrorist attacks which our dear neighbor Turkey has witnessed from the PKK,” said Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh.

Dabbagh urged Turkey to be “wise and patient” and noted the security accord the two neighbors signed late last month.

Under the accord, Iraq and Turkey pledged to take all necessary measures, including financial and intelligence, to combat the PKK and other militant groups. They will hold meetings every six months to coordinate their work.

“The Iraqi government is making continuous efforts not to allow any group which threatens security in the region to be present on Iraqi soil,” Dabbagh said.

However, Iraq has also said its own security forces are too stretched tackling insurgents elsewhere in the country to be sent to tackle the PKK.