Over the past several weeks, some fifty Turkish soldiers and several Turkish civilians have been killed in attacks by Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P.K.K., terrorists. U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey says these incidents show "the continued threat that's posed by the P.K.K., not only to Turkish military forces, but also to Turkish citizens:
"It reiterates the need for us to continue to work with the Turkish government as well as with the Iraqi government to make sure that we're all doing what we can to combat this serious problem. We've had ongoing discussions with both the government of Turkey as well as the government of Iraq on this issue. It's a positive sign that there have been diplomatic exchanges between the two to try and work out some common approaches to this problem and that's certainly a process we want to see."
Following a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President George W. Bush said the United States is committed to working closely with Turkey and Iraq to stop P.K.K. terrorists. “P.K.K. is a terrorist organization," said Mr. Bush. "They’re an enemy of Turkey, they’re an enemy of Iraq, and they’re an enemy of the United States."
In its latest report on terrorism, the U.S. State Department says more than three-thousand terrorists of the Kurdistan Workers Party are in northern Iraq coordinating attacks in the predominantly ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey. In an effort to stop the attacks, Turkey and Iraq signed an agreement to disrupt terrorist financial and logistical support, capture and extradite terrorists, and counteract terrorist propaganda. And Kurdistan's Regional Government in Iraq, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani says, will continue to lead efforts to curb P.K.K. activities, including cutting off the group's supplies.
It is in the interest of the United States, Iraq, and Turkey, said President Bush, “to work effectively” to deal with P.K.K. terrorism.