Turkey threatens to sever electricity supply to northern Iraq

Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa
Published: Friday September 29, 2006

Istanbul (dpa)- Turkey has warned Iraqi President Jalal Talabani y that it would sever electricity and fuel supplies to northern Iraq if Baghdad did not adopt any measures against the illegal Kurdish group PKK in the region, the Turkish news channel NTV reported Friday. Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told the US television channel PBS that it could paralyse public life in northern Iraq, the report said.

Gul was responding to remarks by Talabani on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. According to Turkish media reports, Talabani had warned Turkey and neighbouring countries not to interfere in Iraq's domestic affairs, coupled with the threat that Iraq would otherwise support opposition powers in those countries.

The Turkish public felt that this was a reference to the PKK which has bases in northern Iraq and has recently stepped up attacks in Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of Talabani's "unfortunate" comments and expressed hope that it was a slip of the tongue.

Ankara has been urging the US administration and the Iraqi leadership to take more decisive action against the PKK, which Turkey rates as a terrorist organisation.

The PKK withdrew to northern Iraq in 1999 after the arrest of its leader Abdullah Ocalan. The latest wave of terrorism by Kurdish extremists in the Turkey is putting the government in Ankara under increasing domestic pressure.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa