'Turkey has massed 140,000 troops on border with Iraq'

Iraqi foreign minister calls on Turkey to avoid inciting more conflict; Turkish army wants green light to fight PKK Kurdish rebels.

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July 9, 2007 18:01
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Turkey has massed 140,000 soldiers on its border with northern Iraq but so far there has been no violations, Iraq's foreign minister said Monday. Hoshyar Zebari's comments came amid calls by Turkey's military for the government to give it the green light to carry out military operations in northern Iraqi against the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. "Turkey is building up forces on the border. There are 140,000 soldiers fully armed on the border. We are against any military interference or violation of Iraqi sovereignty," Zebari said during a news conference in Baghdad. He said that any problem should be solved through dialogue adding that "Turkey's fears are legitimate but such things can be discussed." "The Iraqi government try to diffuse the situation," said Zebari, a Kurd from northern Iraq. "The perfect solution is the withdrawal of the Turkish forces from the borders." "No one wants a new military conflict in the region. These matters should be solved through dialogue and direct negotiations ... there hasn't been any Turkish military violation until now. There are some artillery shelling and some surveillance by Turkish plane."

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