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U.S. - Turkey Cooperation On Iraq

Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Coordinator for Iraq David Satterfield says “the United States and Turkey share a common interest in seeing a secure and stable Iraq emerge and flourish, an Iraq which is not the source of threat, of violence or terror to any of its neighbors or to the region as a whole.”

At a roundtable interview in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, Ambassador Satterfield said Iraq is “threatened by the same forces which threaten the Middle East as a whole: Iran’s hegemonistic ambitions and direct support for violence within Iraq, by Sunni Islamist terror, al-Qaida’s activities” and “by a terrorist organization which also threatens Turkish citizens, the P-K-K. [Kurdistan Workers Party].”

For its part, the U.S., said Mr. Satterfield, regards the P-K-K as a terrorist organization “at whose hands far too many innocent Turks have suffered and continue to suffer.” The P-K-K also victimizes innocent Kurds, he said, and continues to threaten the stability of northern Iraq. He said the U.S. welcomes “the steps that the Kurdish regional government has taken to date to address the P-K-K issue,” adding that “further steps will be necessary.”

A definitive end to the P-K-K threat, he noted, “will require a comprehensive approach, an approach which has military, social, economic and political aspects.” Steps will need to be taken, he said, “to induce as many as possible of those who associate with the P-K-K to leave that organization and return to the normal life of Turkish citizens.”

“The Turkish government,” said Ambassador Satterfield, “sees a broad range of positive engagements with Iraqis and with the Iraqi government; economic, social, cultural, security.” The U.S., he said, wants “to see those ties encouraged and we want to see those ties developed for the sake of Iraq and Turkey.”