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    Barzani signals new phase in Turk-Iraqi Kurd relations

    Hurriyet English with wires
    07.05.2008 - 15:52 | Son Güncelleme:

    The psychological obstacles between the Turkey and Kurdish administrations have been removed, president of the autonomous Kurdish administration of northern Iraq Massoud Barzani told in a party meeting.

    The Kurdish administration wanted to have good relations with its neighboring countries, but the bilateral relations were damaged because of the internal conflicts in some countries, Barzani told in Iraqi Kurdistan Democrat Party (KDP) meeting, the official website of the KDP reported on Wednesday.
     
    "The psychological obstacles between us have been removed, we are expecting new steps to be taken," he said, referring to last week's meeting between a Turkish delegation and Iraqi officials in Baghdad.

    A Turkish delegation, headed by the Turkish Prime Ministry's chief adviser, Ahmet Davutoglu, last week met Iraqi President Talabani, Prime Minister of the Kurdish administration, Barzani and high ranking officials from the Iraqi government and Kurdish administration to handle the issues that caused tension in relations recently.

    Barzani also said that Turkey's ground operation in February against the PKK in northern Iraq was not favorable, adding they preferred a solution based on political efforts.

    In February, Turkish forces conducted a week-long ground offensive against PKK hideouts in the region, drawing protests from Iraqi Kurds and Baghdad. Tensions eased a week after the cross-border operation when Talabani, a Kurd, visited Ankara and pledged cooperation against the PKK.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Monday Turkey will continue to hold dialogue with the Iraqi government as well as the regional Kurdish administration, but the level and frequency will depend on concrete action in the fight against the PKK.

    Ankara accuses Iraqi Kurds of harboring and aiding the outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose militants use bases in the mountains of northern Iraq to launch attacks across the border.

    Since mid-December, Turkish warplanes have bombed PKK positions in northern Iraq and at least 150 militants were killed in the latest raid last week, according to reports issued by the Turkish military.

    The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, including the EU and the U.S.

    Photo: AA

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