Turkish envoy in Baghdad for talks on incursion

BAGHDAD – A senior Turkish envoy arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday to hold talks with Iraqi officials about Turkey’s incursion into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrillas, an Iraqi government source said.

Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, was due to meet Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd.

Thousands of Turkish troops crossed the border last Thursday to root out PKK fighters who have used mountainous northern Iraq as a base for their fight for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey since the 1990s.

Iraq on Tuesday condemned the incursion as a violation of its sovereignty and called for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops.

Ankara says it is engaged in a legitimate fight against what it and Washington describe as a terrorist organization. Turkey has given no firm indication how long the operation would last.

Turkish troops, backed by warplanes, attack helicopters and artillery, have been fighting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels in Iraq’s remote, mountainous north.

Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since it began its armed struggle for self-rule in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey in 1984.

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