PKK rebels say heading from Iraq to Turkey-statement

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TUNCELI, Turkey, Oct 12 (Reuters) Kurdish rebels fighting for an independent homeland in southeastern Turkey said today they were moving back into Turkey from the mountains of northern Iraq and would target politicians and police.

The announcement, in a statement by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), came as Ankara seeks permission from parliament to carry out a cross-border offensive against an estimated 3,000 rebels it says are based in northern Iraq.

The United States is eager to avoid any major embroilment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq, which is one of the few areas of relative calm in the country. Washington fears a Turkish invasion would damage its relations with the Kurdish administration and have ramifications through the region.

''The source of this war is in north Kurdistan (eastern Turkey) ... the guerrillas are not moving to the south (northern Iraq); on the contrary they are moving to ... places in the north,'' it said in a statement, which was also published on Firat news agency.

''The guerrillas are positioning themselves against the attacks of the Turkish state,'' it said. ''We will carry out more attacks against the police.'' ''AKP and CHP (opposition party) organisations in the region are among our targets.'' The armed forces and the AK Party (AKP) government of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan are under strong domestic pressure to act against the PKK after a string of attacks that have killed Turkish soldiers in the southeast.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

REUTERS PD KN1710

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