Thousands of Kurds and supporters took to the streets in northern Iraq on Thursday to protest the Turkish parliament's decision to authorize the government to dispatch troops across the border to crash Kurdish militants. The vote in Turkey on Wednesday removed the last legal obstacle to an offensive, but there was no sign of imminent action as the American and Iraqi authorities urged restraint.
According to the AP, over 5,000 men and women packed the streets as they marched to the U.N. offices in Dahuk, a Kurdish city near the border with Turkey. Kurdish leaders have warned that any Turkish incursion into northern Iraq would threaten the relative stability of the region and called on Ankara to seek peaceful means against the Kurdish militants.
Meanwhile, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, in a rare appearance at the White House, Thursday called on Turkey not to carry out a possible military strike in northern Iraq. "It is a Turkish decision," he said, but Baghdad hopes Ankara will choose "not to use the military solution and refrain from crossing Iraqi borders."