Lebanese Parliament Committee Assails Turkey

BEIRUT (Reuter)–A Lebanese parliamentary committee urged all Arab countries to sever economic ties with Turkey in protest against Ankara’s military relations with Israel and its incursion into northern Iraq.

Ali Khalil–chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs committee–was quoted by newspapers as saying after a committee meeting on Wednesday that Israel and Turkey nursed ambitions on Arab land and water.

"We condemn the Turkish-Israeli alliance because it expresses ambitions for Arab water and land and is aimed at tightening the grip–not only on Iraq–Lebanon and Syria–but on all Arab countries," Khalil told reporters.

He said this policy was expressed in Israel’s military occupation of a south Lebanon border zone and by Turkey’s invasion of northern Iraq.

"The committee also recommended that all Arab countries sever economic ties with Turkey and denounced America’s sponsorship of the Turkish-Israeli alliance which contradicts its role as a neutral mediator in the Middle East peace process," Khalil added.

At least 10,000 Turkish troops–backed by air power–have been in northern Iraq since May 14 in pursuit of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The incursion has attracted condemnation from the Arab League secretariat and a demand that Turkish forces withdraw immediately. Some of NATO-member Turkey’s Western allies and the United Nations secretary general have criticized the operation.

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