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    Iraqi official: PKK presence at Turkish border ending

    Hurriyet English with wires
    16.05.2008 - 10:54 | Son Güncelleme:

    PKK's presence at the Turkish-Iraqi border is ending, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told CNNTurk. One Turkish soldier was killed and two were wounded on Friday in the explosion of a landmine planted by the outlawed PKK in souteastarn Turkey. (UPDATED)

    It is positive that Turkey is establishing relations with northern Iraq through Baghdad, Dabbagh said in an interview published on the website of Turkey's CNNTurk on Friday.

    "The PKK failed to endanger the relations between Turkey and Iraq. From now on the relations are entering a new era," he said.

    Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq, Murat Ozcelik arrived on Tuesday in Baghdad, and met Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Iraqi Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi.

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Wednesday visits by Turkish officials to Iraq should be seen as routine, adding he had advised Ozcelik to visit this country at least once a month.

    Dabbagh said the regional government in northern Iraq should still have a role in the PKK issue, although the terrorist’s presence in the border region is ending.

    "The expansion of the air operations leads to problems in Iraq, because these activities are a violation of Iraq's sovereignty. There should be communication and agreement between Turkey and the government in Baghdad on the measures Turkey takes beyond its territory," he added.

    Turkey has intensified its fight against the PKK on both diplomatic and military fronts. The Turkish army has been carrying out ground operations against PKK positions in Turkey as well as air operations in northern Iraq. On the diplomatic front, Ankara has begun to establish a dialogue mechanism with the Kurdish administration of northern Iraq, an important shift in Turkey's foreign policy.



    One Turkish soldier was killed and two others were wounded on Friday in the explosion of a landmine planted by the outlawed separatist PKK in the Hakkari province of Turkey.       

    A wide-scale operation started in the region after the blast, the Anatolian Agency reported.

    The PKK frequently uses remote-control landmines to target Turkey's security forces.  

    Turkey and most of the international community, including the EU and the U.S., consider the PKK a terrorist organization.    

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