Iraq and Turkey to continue anti-PKK cooperation
Iraq and Turkey on Wednesday agreed to continue close cooperation to prevent Kurdish separatists from using Iraqi soil to launch attacks on Turkey, the Anka news agency reported.
"It is a pleasure for us that the solidarity between Turkey, Iraq and the United States will continue," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after meeting his Iraqi counterpart Nuri al-Maliki in Ankara. "Iraq is in a serious fight with terrorism, as we are as well. Terrorism is a common issue for us."
The Turkish military estimates there are between 4,000 and 5,000 Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas holed up in camps in mountainous northern Iraq from which they launch attacks inside Turkey, dpa reported.
On Tuesday, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said military action was not the way to end the PKK insurgency and also called on the PKK to lay down their weapons.
Ankara blames the separatist group for the deaths of more than 32,000 people since the early 1980s when the PKK began its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east of Turkey.
The PKK is considered by Iraq, the United States and the European Union to be a terrorist group.
Before his meeting with Erdogan, al-Maliki held talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. Al-Maliki was scheduled to leave Turkey Thursday morning.