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    Iraqi Kurds OK forming buffer zone along Turkish border

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    20.10.2008 - 09:50 | Son Güncelleme:

    Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, is ready to cooperate with Turkey, and could even accept a proposal for a buffer zone in the case the Turkish government establishes dialogue with him, the chief of the Iraqi army told Hurriyet daily. (UPDATED)

    The key to Turkey’s efforts to end PKK terror lies on establishing warm relations with the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq, said Babakir Zebari, Hurriyet daily reported Monday.

    Barzani would respond positively to every measure to be taken against the PKK, including accepting a Turkish proposal for the establishment of a buffer zone in northern Iraq as a measure against terror attacks from this territory.

    Ankara intensified its contacts with the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq after the PKK increased its attacks on Turkish soldiers, as well as civilians. Turkey has so far refused to hold direct talks with the Barzani administration, accusing them of supporting the terror organization.

    Turkey, which accuses its southern neighbor of failing to halt PKK violence, has also intensified its direct contacts with Iraqi officials to discuss the possible measures that can be taken in the fight against the PKK terror. A Turkish delegation last week met high-level Iraqi officials in Baghdad, including Barzani, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    Turkish officials have also been debating the creation of a buffer zone in the north of Iraq as a counter measure against PKK attacks from this territory.

    The good relations, Zibari, a Kurd himself, has with Barzani are cited as the motivation for his appointment to his current post.

    "The PKK is like a cornered animal, and it is continuously attacking. Turkey has dealt heavy blows (to the PKK). I think it is the best time to take steps for political solutions," Zebari said.

    Turkey has stepped up its campaign to crackdown on the PKK, staging several cross-border operations, including a brief land offensive in February, against PKK bases in mountainous northern Iraq. The Turkish parliament extended for a year, the mandate given to military to carry out cross border operations.

    TALKS TO CONTINUE
    Barzani told reporters in the Iraqi province of Erbil on Monday that his administration would go on having talks with Turkey both in the region and Turkey.

    He said a new page was opened in relations with Turkey, adding the path for dialogue was also open.

    Barzani said Turkey had taken a step to boost relations, and this was the first meeting between the head of the regional administration in northern Iraq and the Turkish delegation.

    The regional administration and Turkey would discuss in detail their problems in upcoming meetings, he said.

    Barzani told reporters that the two parties did not discuss special demands regarding the terrorist organization PKK or any other issue, and said those issues would be debated in detail in the future.  

     

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