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Turkey, Iraq Security Cooperation

The United States has condemned a terrorist attack in Turkey’s southeastern province of Sirnak which killed thirteen people, including seven-year-old Medeni Akdogan.

Turkish authorities say Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., terrorists forced the victims off a bus near the village of Besagac and shot them. A written statement by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said the United States “remains a staunch supporter of Turkey’s efforts to combat the P.K.K. and terrorism in all its forms.”

Since 1984, fighting between P.K.K. insurgents and Turkish security forces is estimated to have cost more than thirty-thousand lives. In its latest report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department says more than three-thousand P.K.K. terrorists are in northern Iraq. From there, the P.K.K. coordinates attacks in the predominately ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey and provides logistical support to forces that launch attacks into Turkey.

In an effort to stop the attacks, Turkey and Iraq recently signed an agreement to disrupt terrorist financial and logistical support, capture and extradite terrorists, and counteract terrorist propaganda. Iraq Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said, “Iraq will not allow Kurdish rebels targeting Turkey.”

State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey says the U.S. welcomes the Turkey-Iraq agreement:

“We think it’s positive that the government of Turkey and the government of Iraq are cooperating on this issue. We certainly want to work with them as well to confront the challenges and the problems posed by P-K-K terrorism. And again, to the extent that we can all work together with one another, I think we’ll be able to achieve greater success in this result.”

U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said the U.S. wants to work with both Turkey and Iraq “to see that. . . .these horrible actions of the P-K-K are brought to an end.”