WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) U S President George W Bush today urged Turkey not to launch a major incursion into northern Iraq.
He spoke after Turkey's parliament approved by a large majority a government request to allow troops to cross into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels based there. The United States fears a cross-border incursion could destabilize the most peaceful part of Iran and potentially the wider region.
''We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don't think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq,'' Bush told a news conference.
''Actually, they have troops already stationed in Iraq. And they've had troops stationed there for quite a while. We don't think it's in their interests to send more troops in,'' he added.
Bush said the United States in talks with Turkey was pressing Washington's message that it understands the concerns about the Kurdish rebel group but ''there's a better way to deal with the issue than having the Turks send massive troops into (Iraq).'' REUTERS RSA RN2109