US pledges to cooperate with Turkey against terrorism

Türkiye Materials 15 February 2008 16:32 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - US Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday pledged that the United States will continue to cooperate with Turkey against terrorist groups saying that the two countries were working together on measures to curtail terrorism, organized crime, narcotics smuggling and cyber crime.

"Cooperation has been active and successful and it continues," Mukasey told reporters after a two-day official visit to Turkey where he met with Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin.

Mukasey did not go into any specifics of what the cooperation involved but did say that it was aimed against al-Qaeda and the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Al-Qaeda was responsible for a series of bombings in Istanbul in 2004 that left more than 60 dead. In recent weeks the police have arrested a number of suspected al-Qaeda supporters.

Mukasey said US-Turkish cooperation was wide-ranging but refused to be drawn on whether he would press the Iraqi government to extradite to Turkey suspected PKK leaders.

According to the Turkish military there are around 3,000 PKK rebels based in northern Iraq. Since December the Turkish air force have launched a number of strikes on suspected PKK positions in Iraq just over the Turkish border.

More than 32,000 people have been killed since the early 1980s when the PKK launched its fight for independence or autonomy for the mainly Kurdish-populated south-east.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.