Turkey seeks Iraqi Kurdistan's help
against PKK rebels
By ekurd.net staff writers
November 4, 2011
ISTANBUL, Turkey,— Turkish leaders on
Friday pressed the president of Iraq's Kurdish
enclave to crack down on the Kurdish rebels
launching cross-border attacks from their Iraqi
Turkish President Abdullah Gul met Massoud Barzani,
the president of the autonomous Kurdistan region in
Iraq's north, in Istanbul. Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu already urged Barzani late Thursday to
assist Turkey's fight against the guerrillas.
It was the first direct talks in 1 1/2 years between
Turkish leaders and Barzani, which followed last
month's Turkish military incursion into Iraqi
Kurdistan region in response to the Oct. 19 killing
of 24 Turkish soldiers by PKK rebels.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (R) speaks
to media after his meeting with Iraqi Kurdistan
Regional President Massoud Barzani in Istanbul
November 3, 2011. Photo: Reuters
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu expected
that Iraqi Kurdistan will support Turkey in chasing
banned PKK elements, following his meeting with
Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.
He described the meeting as "fruitful", as reported
by Turkish Anatolia news agency.
"Our relations with the Iraqi Kurds had been
developed lately", Davutoglu added.
He pointed out that "the practices of PKK party
affected the Turkish and Kurdish peoples, not only
in Turkey, but our brothers north Iraq".
Barzani expressed readiness to exert all possible
efforts to enhance security relations with Turkey,
pointing the importance of having good relations
Barzani said the Kurdistan Region is prepared to fully
support any peaceful means to end the
conflict in the southeast and bring peace and
stability. However, he reiterated that the Kurdistan
Region would not be party to any plans that involve
violence and conflict.
Turkey has long been urging the Iraqi Kurdistan
government to cut supply lines in its territory used
by the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers' Party,www.ekurd.net
or PKK, and to arrest and hand over its leaders who
live across the border in Iraq.
Turkish pressure has increased since PKK rebels
intensified their attacks this summer. Iraqi Kurdish
authorities have condemned the Oct. 19 attack but
Turkish officials are demanding more.
Iraqi Kurds, which have their own police and armed
force, are largely responsible for security in the
northern areas of the country where the PKK operates
rather than U.S. or Iraqi government troops.
Barzani's Kurdish forces, known as Peshmergas, had
fought against the PKK alongside Turkish troops
during incursions in 1990s.
Barzani and other Iraqi Kurdish officials also met
regularly with Turkish officials during former Iraqi
leader Saddam Hussein's regime. But relations cooled
following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as Kurdish
national aspirations skyrocketed.
Turkey's government is again trying to win support
of Iraqi Kurds as it is engaged in talks with the
United States for possible deployment of Predator
drones on Turkish soil after U.S. forces leave Iraq.
The U.S. shares drone surveillance data with Turkey
to aid its fight against the Kurdish rebels.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
Sources: AP | AFP | aswataliraq.info | krp.org Agencies
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