Hundreds of Turkish troops entered Iraq last night, Iraqi officials said, in pursuit of separatist Kurdish rebels. It marks the first land invasion since the Turkish parliament approved such measures last month and involves as many as seven hundred troops.
At last report Tuesday, officials in Turkey had not confirmed the reports but a Turkish diplomat in Washington told the Associated Press that “It was a Turkish operation, it was a Turkish decision. We were informed.”
The reported incursion threatens to resurface tensions that had partly subsided since Turkey’s vote last month to enable cross-border operations. Reuters reports Turkish troops engaged in minor skirmishes with fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist group based both in Turkey and Iraq.
The reported attacks come on the heels of weekend air strikes and coincide with a surprise visit by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Washington Post reports this morning on a new program in which the U.S. government aims to help the Turkish military by providing intelligence on PKK targets in Iraq.
Oil prices edged higher on the news of the invasion.