Leader says Kurds to fight back if attacked-radio
BERLIN, June 29 (Reuters) - Masoud Barzani, the head of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, warned on Friday of a "catastrophe" if Turkey attacked his territory and vowed that Kurds would defend themselves.
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul was quoted as saying on Friday that Turkey has prepared detailed plans for a cross-border operation into Iraq against Kurdish rebels and will act if U.S. or Iraqi forces fail to tackle them.
"We will defend ourselves against any state that attacks us," Barzani said in an interview with Germany's Deutsche Welle public radio.
"I hope that Turkey doesn't mean these threats seriously because that would be a catastrophe for the entire region," Barzani added, according to a German transcript of the interview.
Ankara has on many occasions threatened to send troops into mainly Kurdish northern Iraq to hunt down thousands of militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who use the region as a base from which to attack targets inside Turkey.
Barzani said Turkey would have nothing to fear from an independent Kurdish entity within Iraq, Deutsche Welle said in a paraphrase of other comments the Kurdish leader had made.
"We appeal to Turkey to turn to the language of dialogue instead of threats. We're ready for compromise and dialogue."