Sunday, May 27, 2007


Iraq urges to Turkey to persue diplomatic means in PKK issue

Security, Turkey
(Reuters) - Iraq urged its northern neighbour Turkey on Sunday to pursue diplomatic means as it attempts stop armed Kurdish separatists operating out of northern Iraq. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih told reporters after meeting with a Turkish delegation in Baghdad that Iraq would not accept a breach of its sovereignty.
"We spoke about what are perceived to be security threats to Turkey coming from Iraqi territory. We emphasised the need of dealing with the perceived threats based on established channels between the governments of Iraq and Turkey," he said. Turkish envoy Oguz Celikkol said a number of issues had been discussed, including Ankara's growing anger at recent violence it blames on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The Turkish rebel group has thousands of fighters in the mountains of northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.
"Iraq is our neighbour and what happens here is important to us. We aren't here to discuss one matter but all the matters that concern the two countries," he said. Last month Turkey's armed forces chief called for a military operation into Iraq to quash PKK rebels, but Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said on Friday that parliament had no current intention to approve military action.
Last Tuesday, a suicide bomber killed six people in Ankara but the PKK denied involvement. A day later six soldiers were killed when their vehicle was blown up by a landmine believed to have been planted by the guerrillas. More than 30,000 people, most of them Kurds, have been killed since the PKK took up arms to fight for a Kurdish homeland in Turkey in 1984.

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