Turkey, U.S. hold talks on Kurdish rebels

08:32, February 04, 2010      

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Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay met on Wednesday in Ankara with the top U.S. general in Iraq to discuss terrorist threat to Turkey by the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) holed up on Iraqi territories.

"We discussed concrete steps taken and to be taken against the terrorist organization PKK," Atalay said in a statement after his talks with Ray Odierno, the commanding general of multinational force in Iraq, who arrived in Turkey on Tuesday.

Atalay said Turkey was determined to end terrorist threat stemming from northern Iraq.

"As we have stated in high-level meetings held within the framework of trilateral mechanism, our aim is to make the terrorist organization ineffective, and to end its activities just outside our borders," Atalay said.

In 2008, the United States, Turkey and Iraq established a three- way committee to mull over measures against the PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Atalay said he and Odierno reaffirmed the current understanding between the two countries in their talks, and discussed measures to be taken from now on.

"Turkey attaches importance and actively contributing to preserving territorial integrity of Iraq, and ensuring the country 's peace, stability and welfare," Atalay said.

"Within this trilateral framework, the United States is working with the government of Turkey and the government of Iraq to ensure cross-border security and the end to PKK terrorism," Odierno said in a written statement upon arrival on Tuesday.

Washington has been providing intelligence for Turkey in Ankara 's bid to destroy PKK rebels who stage terrorist attacks in Turkey from their bases in northern Iraq, according to the semi-official Anatolia news agency.

Established in 1978, the PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Its separatist campaign has fuelled conflicts that have killed over 40,000 people in the country.

It is estimated that there are a total of 5,000 PKK militants, the majority of whom are holed up in northern Iraq where the PKK headquarters is situated.

Source: Xinhua
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