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Iraqi Politicians Condemn Turkish Bombing Of Iraqi Kurds

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi politicians in Baghdad are joining Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials in condemning three days of Turkish air strikes on Kurdish rebel bases that have hit border villages in Iraq, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

KRG spokesman Kawa Mahmud told RFI on August 19 that the Turkish bombardment "is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty, the norms of international law, and the UN charter."

Mahmud said the attacks "have resulted in peaceful villages being depopulated as their inhabitants flee the bombings."

He added that "the KRG calls for bringing an end to these incursions by diplomatic means -- not out of weakness but because we want strong ties with our neighbors based on cooperation and peaceful coexistence."

Adil Barwari, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on relations with the Kurdish autonomous region, told RFI that "there is a tripartite committee of Iraq, Turkey, and the U.S. military to deal with the [Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK)] issue, which makes calls for Iraq to complain to the UN about Turkish air strikes irrelevant as the PKK is generally viewed by the international community as a terrorist organization."

Barwari said the solution lies in Turkey itself, which should find a way to resolve the PKK problem.

Hussein al-Asadi, a member of Maliki's parliamentary bloc the National Alliance, told RFI that "Turkish and Iranian bombing of Iraqi territory is aggression against Iraq's sovereignty notwithstanding the fact that it is restricted to the Kurdish region because Iraq's security is indivisible."

Haider al-Mulla, a spokesman for former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's parliamentary bloc Al-Iraqiyah, told RFI that "Iraq over the past eight years has been paying a heavy price and, as a consequence, [has other countries] meddling in its internal affairs and [making] crossborder attacks against its territory."

Al-Mulla said "a firm stance is required from the government, backed by all [parliamentary] factions, for an end to these enchroachments."

A PKK spokesman, Duzdar Hammu, told RFI that "the latest round of Turkish air strikes started August 18 continued August 19 focusing on the Qandil Mountains and Zab."

Turkish political analyst Mustafa Dhia told RFI that the Turkish offensive "may check PKK infiltration across Iraq's porous borders with Turkey for some time but, in the long term, there is no military solution to this problem."

Dhia said "the Turkish government has a whole package of economic and social measures to solve the Kurdish question by peaceful means but it has to prepare the ground for it by stemming PKK violence."