Turkey attacks Kurdish targets as Barzani calls for direct talks
Cobra attack helicopters attacked suspected Kurdish targets Tuesday near the southeastern border with Iraq in a second day of fighting in the Mount Cudi area.
As the Turkish military pressure continued, the government called a Cabinet meeting for Wednesday to discuss a National Security Council recommendation on possible economic measures against groups supporting the Kurdish militants, private CNN-Turk and NTV television reported. Ankara is reportedly considering a number of economic actions against the self-governing Kurdish administration in Iraq's north, where the PKK fighters are based. The region is heavily reliant on Turkish electricity and food imports, as well as Turkish investment in construction works.
Turkey accuses Kurdish administration of tolerating and even supporting the PKK.
Three Turkish soldiers were killed in the first day of fighting, according to the private Dogan News Agency and Hurriyet newspaper, which published their names. Six members from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, were also killed, the private Cihan news agency reported.
One other soldier was killed Monday during operations in Tunceli province when he stepped on a land, the AP reported.
Meanwhile, Iraq's Kurdish leader Massud Barzani said in an interview published Tuesday that he would not take orders from Turkey to crack down on the PKK. Barzani regretted Ankara's refusal to hold direct talks on the crisis.
"You do not speak to me, then you ask me to do things against the PKK. How can this be?" he told Turkey's Milliyet newspaper. "I am a friend of Turkey but I am not taking orders from Turkey or anyone else."
"Why is Turkey's hostility towards Iraqi Kurdistan? Is it because we are the real problem in Ankara's eyes and not the PKK?" Barzani asked. "We want assurances from Turkey that all these military measures are not against us."
"The PKK will either give up violence or confront not only Turkey but the whole Kurdish nation," he said.