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Kurdish protesters in Iraq shout 'no to Turkey'

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Kurdish regional government appeals for restraint by Turkey
  • Marchers in Iraq's Kurdish region protest against Turkish parliament vote
  • Vote authorized military action against Kurdish separatists based in Iraq
  • Iraqi official says meetings with Turkish leaders this week brought "good results"
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Thousands of Kurds and their supporters poured into the streets of northern Iraqi cities on Thursday to protest the Turkish parliament's approval of cross-border raids into Iraq.

Iraqi Kurdish youths wave their regional flag as they protest in Thursday in Irbil, Iraq.

Some 10,000 demonstrators in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish regional government, carried banners and signs and shouted "no to Turkey."

Riot police were on hand, but there were no reports of disorderly conduct.

In Duhuk, another mainly Kurdish city in northern Iraq, 5,000 demonstrators marched to the U.N. offices, according to The Associated Press.

They presented a document asking the United Nations to stop Turkey from taking any military action in Iraq, the AP reported.

Turkey's parliament on Wednesday voted to authorize cross-border actions by the country's military into Iraq to attack separatists from the Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the PKK. Video Watch a new generation of protesters politicized »

That group, which operates largely in southeastern Turkey, has attacked Turkey from northern Iraq, and Turkey is intent on stopping that activity.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the parliamentary vote wouldn't necessarily trigger immediate military action, and many analysts doubt that a full-scale invasion would be launched.

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Iraq and the United States oppose such cross-border action and hope they can persuade the Turks to deal with the PKK problem by diplomacy.

Meetings this week with Turkish leaders about border tensions "ended in good results," the office of an Iraqi vice president said Thursday.

Tariq al-Hashimi, one of Iraq's two vice presidents, met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Turkey's capital, Ankara.

"Before leaving Ankara, his excellency appealed to the Turkish government for restraint and to consider some time for the political efforts to take place in order to resolve the current crisis in the best possible way," al-Hashimi's office said.

Al-Hashimi said he hopes the meetings result in a timely "joint effort" between the Iraqi and Turkish governments "to stop the terrorist operations across the border."

He said such an effort will be successful through proper coordination over policies by "the formation of joint committees to review the outstanding issues" and a follow-up of bilateral security agreements.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, visiting Paris for meetings with French leaders, called al-Hashimi's visit a success and said he does not "believe that there is an imminent Turkish attack into northern Iraq and I hope that it will not happen."

"We hope that the wisdom of our friend, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is enough to prevent the Turkish military intervention," Talabani, who is Kurdish, said Wednesday.

The Kurdistan regional government issued an appeal to "our friend and neighbor Turkey to refrain from military action in Iraq" and urged a political solution, rather than a military one, to the longstanding "problem of the PKK."

"A Turkish military attack on the Kurdistan region of Iraq would make the situation worse, complicating the prospects for a political solution in Turkey and threatening the fragile progress that is being made in Iraq," according to a statement posted on the government's Web site Wednesday.


"We do not interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey, and we expect the same in return," the statement said.

The Kurdish region -- Duhuk, Irbil and Sulaimaniya provinces -- has had a close economic relationship with Turkey and said it considers good relations with Ankara a top priority. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Saad Abedine, Nic Robertson and Sarah Sultoon contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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