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Turkey - Iraq Security Cooperation

Turkey - Iraq Security Cooperation

Iraq and Turkey have agreed to work together to deal with terrorism by the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P-K-K. At a joint news conference with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the ministers agreed “to fight terrorism wherever it is and we will not allow any party or any group, including the P-K-K, to poison our bilateral relations.” Mr. Zebari said, “The Iraqi government will actively help Turkey overcome this menace.”

P-K-K violence in Turkey has left nearly forty people dead in recent weeks, including twelve Turkish soldiers killed in an ambush in Turkey’s Hakkari province near the Iraqi border. Iraq has a responsibility to prevent terrorists from operating on its territory.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the violence must be stopped:

“The P-K-K is a terrorist organization that needs to be dealt with. Recently, we have seen significant loss of life on the Turkish side and we have condemned those attacks that were perpetrated by the P-K-K. What that does is it highlights the importance of the Turkish government and the Iraqi government working together to resolve this issue.”

Mr. McCormack said the Iraqi government must act to stop P-K-K attacks:

“We want to see action from the Iraqi government to prevent terrorist attacks. And any sort of actions that they may take cooperatively with the Turkish government or on their own to prevent terrorist attacks should in no way prejudice the long-term solution; that is, to get rid of the P-K-K.”

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said cooperation is essential to defeating P-K-K terrorism:

“The United States is determined to work with our allies in Iraq and to work with our allies in Turkey to try and deal with what is a very difficult situation of terrorism from a fairly remote part of northern Iraq. And it requires information-sharing, it requires a great deal of coordination.”

In a joint statement, the United States and Britain promised to “intensify efforts with our Turkish and Iraqi allies to achieve our common goals to end P-K-K terrorism.”