In Pursuit of Kurdish Rebels, Turkey Invades Iraq

Troops cross border after PKK attacks kill 26 soldiers
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 19, 2011 7:36 AM CDT
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L) talks with Armed Forces Chief General Ilker Basbug in a trench during his visit to the Turkish city of Hakkari on the border with Iraq in this file photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Turkey sent troops, air force bombers, and helicopter gunships across the border into Iraq today in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, after a series of PKK attacks left 26 Turkish soldiers dead and 22 wounded, according to Turkish television reports. Though Turkish authorities haven’t confirmed the incursion, the chief of the military and the interior and defense minister made a beeline for the border, while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan canceled a planned foreign visit, the AP reports.

So far the incursion seems to be a limited one, with troops moving just 2.5 miles into Iraqi territory. “We have been clashing with the Turkish forces in two areas since around 3am today,” a spokesman for the PKK in northern Iraq confirmed. The PKK has stepped up its attacks recently, prompting Turkey to complain to Iraq last week that its “patience is running out.” Yesterday a roadside bomb killed five policemen and three civilians, including a 4-year-old girl.

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