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    Turkish delegation says meeting with Kurdish leader Barzani positive

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    14.10.2008 - 11:58 | Son Güncelleme:

    The Turkish delegation held a "positive" meeting with Massoud Barzani, leader of the regional administration in northern Iraq, on its fight against the terror organization. Turkey delivered its demands from the administration against the PKK. (UPDATED)

    The two-hour meeting was held in a positive atmosphere, said delegation head and Turkey's special envoy for Iraq, Murat Ozcelik.  

    He said the Turkish side delivered its demands from the regional administration against the PKK, but did not elaborate these. 

    The Turkish delegation later met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad.

    "We are ashamed that the terrorist organization PKK uses Iraqi land," Maliki was quoted as saying by the Anatolian Agency. He said everything necessary must be done to end the terrorist activities by the PKK.

    Turkey intensified its direct contacts with the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq to discuss the possible measures that can be taken in the fight against the terror organization. Turkey's move signals an important policy shift in the country's approach to the northern Iraqi administration. 

    Turkish officials had previously held talks with the Kurdish administration. The sides had cut a deal in a similar meeting in May in Baghdad.

    According to the agreement, the Kurdish officials are expected to change their rhetoric on PKK and Turkey. Experts say some achievements were made on this.

    Secondly, Turkey asked the Kurdish administration cut the logistic support of the terror organization and thirdly the sides discussed the need of carrying out joint operations against PKK.

    The Turkish delegation was expected to pile pressure on Barzani in Tuesday's meeting for realizing the second and third terms agreed in May.

    Turkey demands intelligence sharing and wants the Iraqi Kurdish authorities to implement stricter controls at Erbil and Sulaimaniyah airports to prevent PKK terrorists from other countries arriving at PKK camps in northern Iraq.

     

    GREATER RESTRICTION OF PKK
    After the measures that would be taken following Tuesday’s meeting, the PKK would not be able to operate as comfortably as it has in the past, political sources in northern Iraq  told Dogan News Agency.

     

    The sources said the regional Kurdish administration has been obliged to take some concrete steps due to the increasing number of PKK attacks, and added these steps would lead to a decline in the effectiveness of the terrorist organization in the region.

     

    The United States welcomed the meeting between the Turkish delegation and Barzani.

    The United States has long urged for dialogue between Turkey and the Iraqi authorities, U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Kathy Schalow told ANKA News Agency, and said the recent development was a positive step.

    FIRST MEETING WITH BARZANI
    "This is the first meeting between Barzani and the Turkish delegation," Barzani's office chief Foaad Hussein told AFP before the meeting, adding the problems with the PKK would be discussed.

    Turkish warplanes have stepped up air strikes against PKK hideouts across the border in Iraq since an Oct. 3 attack by PKK terrorists against a Turkish border outpost that killed 17 soldiers. 

    Turkey has long blamed the Kurdish regional administration in northern Iraq for supporting the terrorist organization and refused to hold contacts. 

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul is also expected to pay a visit to the neighboring country in the coming weeks, accepting an invitation from Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, himself a Kurd.

    Following the first contact between Turkish and Iraqi Kurdish officials, which was held after another PKK attack late in 2007, the northern Iraq administration took several steps but those were not satisfactory. 

     

     

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