( AKI ) - Turkish media reports say that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi to close down an office of the Kurdish rebel group PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party) in Italy.
While the talks between the two leaders this week focused on messages of friendship and ways to boost bilateral ties, the Turkish daily Milliyet said that behind the close door sessions, Erdogan also asked Italy to shut down a PKK office.
However the paper did not give the details about where this PKK office is located and under what name it functions.
The Kurdish rebel group has been blamed for a spate of attacks on Turkey that prompted Ankara to threaten a cross-border offensive against its bases in northern Iraq. Washington has urged Turkey to exercise restraint.
During his two-day visit to Italy, the Turkish prime minister said that the PKK is a terrorist organisation that must be eliminated and he referred to the furstration that Ankara felt in not getting the support to deal with the Kurdish rebel group.
Both the United States and the EU have labelled the PKK a terrorist organisation, but Erdogan said some European nations have captured leaders of the group only to release them and allow them to return to Iraq.
Turkish officials have also said in the past that the PKK operated under different names in many European countries and they criticise the European officials who are slow to shut these groups down.
They claim that these PKK offices operate as "Kurdish cultural centres" in European cities. Turkish officials say these offices are used for laundering money for the PKK and raising funds for the organisation.
For his part, the Italian prime minister Romano Prodi said Rome will continue to cooperate with Ankara in the fight against terrorism and also praised Turkey for the moderation it has shown until now.
In his meeting with the Italian prime minister, Erdogan also stressed that his government is committed to changing the controversial article 301 in the Turkish penal code, which criminalises "insulting Turkishness"
Article 301 has often been invoked by nationalists against those who argue that the Ottoman empire committed genocide against Armenians around the time of World War I.
Nobel-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk and murdered Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink were both prosecuted under the law for their comments on the mass killings of Armenians.
In his speech at the Italy-Turkey Business Council in Rome, Erdogan also thanked Italy for "continuously supporting" Turkey in its EU bid.
"You get to know us very well, that's why you supported us," said Erdogan. "Thank you for that," he said. He also invited Italian businessmen to invest in Turkey.