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Turkey calls emergency meeting after Kurdish -

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Turkey calls emergency meeting after Kurdish attack

AM - Monday, 22 October , 2007 08:12:00

Reporter: David Hardaker

TONY EASTLEY: Having already cleared the way for a military incursion into Iraq, the Turkish
Government may now have the justification it needs to act.

A cross-border attack by Kurdish rebels based in Iraq has killed 12 Turkish soldiers.

Turkey says more than 30 members of the rebel group, the PKK (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan), were
killed in the fighting.

The Government has called an emergency security meeting to discuss the situation.

Middle East Correspondent David Hardaker reports .

(sounds of shouting and chanting by demonstrators)

DAVID HARDAKER: In the south-eastern Turkish town of Erzurum, tens of thousands of people waving
national flags demonstrated. They were demanding action against Kurdish rebels who'd killed a dozen
or more Turkish soldiers.

According to a statement from the Turkish military, a group of up to 200 Kurdish fighters crossed
into Turkey from Northern Iraq and moved 40 kilometres into the province of Hakkari where they
attacked the soldiers.

The Turkish military says it struck back, firing from helicopters and from the ground, killing at
least 30 of the Kurdish militants.

The attack was the second in the last 10 days.

HALDUN SOLMAZTURK: These are major incidences in military terms.

DAVID HARDAKER: Retired Turkish General, Haldun Solmazturk

HALDUN SOLMAZTURK: This event can only be called a catastrophic development on a part of Turkey. I
think you'll make the Turkish Government felt more cornered than ever.

DAVID HARDAKER: By a 500 vote majority Turkey's Parliament last week voted permit its government to
send its military across the Turkish border. Turkey's Prime Minister Abdullah Gul had said he did
not want to use that power immediately, but the pressure's building now from nationalist groups,
opposition groups and the public.

DAVID HARDAKER: Retired General, Haldun Tzolmazurk

HALDUN TZOLMAZURK: A very important psychological threshold has been stepped over. So, any
incursion became somewhat inevitable.

DAVID HARDAKER: Iraq's President, Jalal Talabani, who is a Kurd, said the leadership of the Kurdish
rebel group, the PKK, lived hidden in the mountains on Iraq's border with Turkey and that it was
impossible to get them to hand them over.

In Northern Iraq he and other Kurdish leaders stated their defiance over any Turkish incursion.

JALAL TALIBANI: If we're directly affected by the conflict or the Kurdistan province is directly
targeted, we will no doubt defend ourselves.

DAVID HARDAKER: That defiance has set the scene for an uncertain few days.

Turks believe the Kurds hiding in those mountains have killed more than 30,000 people in a campaign
of violence stretching back to 1984.

Before an emergency meeting of the Turkey's security establishment, President Abdullah Gul urged
Turks to remain united behind the military.

ABDULLAH GUL (translated): The whole nation should be united in this matter. We should not damage
our feelings of brotherhood and sisterhood. To weaken such feelings in our country is the first aim
of terrorism.

DAVID HARDAKER: Mr Gul said he would be talking to military commanders and the Opposition before
deciding on the next step.

This is David Hardaker reporting for AM.