Iraqi foreign minister 'expected in Turkey for security talks'
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari will visit Turkey Friday to discuss the fight against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq and other bilateral issues, a Turkish diplomat said.
Zebari will hold talks with Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan and could meet President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday.
"Bilateral relations, the cooperation mechanism and security issues" will be on the agenda, the diplomat told AFP.
Ankara wants close ties and economic cooperation with Baghdad but the safe haven the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) enjoys in the autonomous Kurdish-run north of Iraq has long been a problem between the two countries.
Hopes of better cooperation improved after Iraq, Turkey and the United States agreed in November to form a joint committee to work on the problem.
In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki visited Ankara and pledged to increase cooperation to root out the rebels.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by much of the international community, took up arms for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 44,000 lives.
Turkey says thousands of PKK militants use the mountains of northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks on Turkish territory.
Turkish warplanes have frequently bombed rebel hideouts in the region since 2007.