Iraqi Prime Minister expected in Ankara for talks on PKK

Türkiye Materials 19 June 2007 13:41 (UTC +04:00)

( Turkishdailynews ) - Iraqi PM Maliki is expected to arrive in Ankara amid rising worries on both sides over moves that can further destabilize the region

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is expected to arrive in Ankara for talks on the fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorists upon an invitation by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoрan, diplomatic sources said yesterday. Turkey's Ambassador to Iraq Derya Kanbay handed Erdoрan's message to Maliki over the weekend. Diplomatic sources said the visit may occur in the first week of July rather than the end of June.

Turkey harshly criticized Iraq for not making any effort at all to counter the terrorists based in Iraqi territory. On the other hand Prime Minister Erdoрan said there are still things to be done through dialogue and continued to send a positive message to Baghdad last week.

Sources said Maliki assured Turkey that Iraq will do whatever is necessary to stop terrorists from attacking its neighbors, during a meeting with Turkey's Ambassador Derya Kanbay.

"We are keen to prevent the PKK from carrying out activities in Iraq," a statement from Maliki's office quoted him as saying after his meeting with Kanbay. Maliki also expressed his worries about the PKK attacks claiming military and civilians' lives.

Erdoрan said last week that he had invited al-Maliki. In his letter, Erdoрan assured Baghdad of Ankara's support in achieving Iraqi stability and boosting relations, the private CNN Tьrk news channel reported.

According to the statement from Maliki's office, Erdoрan also welcomed the Iraqi prime minister's proposal to form a high-level committee to develop economic relations.

Meanwhile Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking to CNN International on Sunday, said that they are concerned about the buildup by Turkish troops on the border. Zebari who is of Kurdish origins said that any military incursion by Turkey into the north of Iraq would undermine Iraq's sole peaceful haven. "It would create more imbalance and more instability," Zebari said.

The Iraqi minister said that they are in consultation with the Turkish government to ease the tension and stated, "Because any confrontation would not be in the interest of Iraq, Turkey or anybody else."