Kurdish separatists paraded eight Turkish hostages on Tuesday in a move certain to raise pressure on Ankara to launch cross-border military operations against terrorist camps in Iraq.
A website linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) carried video footage of the soldiers captured in an ambush at the weekend in which 12 of their colleagues died. A caption on the website claimed they had not suffered ill-treatment.
But popular pressure on the Turkish government for a retaliatory operation increased as tens of thousands marched at the funerals of the 12 mostly young conscripts who were killed.
The prospect of military action appeared to rise as the government sought to shore up political backing from foreign allies, including Britain.
BAGHDAD - Under growing pressure to crack down on Kurdish rebels using northern Iraq as a base for guerrilla attacks in Turkey, the Iraqi government ordered the rebels’ offices closed Tuesday and promised to curb their movements and block their funds.
Turkish troops were massing along the border, with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight. Earlier Tuesday in London, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that his country cannot wait forever for the Iraqi government to move.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the offices of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by its Turkish acronym PKK, closed, and said the government will “not allow it to work on Iraqi territory.”