Turkey, US, Iraq hold Baghdad talks on PKK militants

Other News Materials 19 November 2008 13:27 (UTC +04:00)

Turkish, US and Iraqi officials were to hold three-way talks in Baghdad on Wednesday, part of efforts to boost cooperation against PKK militants who use Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkey, reported World bulletin.

The delegations are headed by Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and Iraqi Minister of State for National Security Shirwan al-Waeli and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and include both civilian and military officials, the U.S. embassy said.

Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay left for Iraq on Wednesday, Anatolian news agency said.

A statement by the ministry said Turkish delegation headed by Atalay would meet Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and attend trilateral talks to be held by Turkey-Iraq-United States in Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Turkey has stepped up cross-border air strikes and shelling of northern Iraq since militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) killed 17 Turkish soldiers in an ambush in southeastern Turkey last month.

Turkey accuses Iraq of failing to rein in the fighters, and the issue has strained relations between the two neighbours.

Washington and Baghdad both consider the PKK a terrorist group.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, visited Turkey last month to discuss efforts to fight the PKK. Turkish officials have also visited Baghdad to discuss the issue in recent weeks.