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    U.S. urges Turkey to continue dialogue with N. Iraq administration

    by Irem Koker
    31 Ekim 2008 - 14:43Son Güncelleme : 31 Ekim 2008 - 16:41

    ISTANBUL - The U.S. sees Turkey’s bilateral relations with the Iraqi authorities as an important step in the solution of the PKK problem and pledged to support Ankara’s efforts to crackdown the terror organization’s activities in Europe.

    “The U.S. has long encouraged that kind of a dialogue. It's obviously necessary as part of the solution of the PKK problem. We want to facilitate that dialogue and that effort in any way that the parties believe will be helpful to them,” Wilson said at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Europe and Central Asia held in Istanbul.

     

    The Turkish government has been holding talks with high level officials from northern Iraq, including the leader of the regional administration Massood Barzani, to discuss the ways to increase the effectiveness of its fight against the PKK.

     

    Such a move signals an important shift in Turkey’s approach to the regional administration in northern Iraq which Ankara has long accused of harboring and supporting the terror organization.

     

    Wilson said the intelligence sharing between Turkey and the U.S. is continuing and the Washington administration is looking to make it more effective and be a greater help to Turkey as the Turkish Armed Forces’ efforts to defend its country are underway.

     

    “We are continuing our efforts to try to help Turkey in Europe to go after PKK elements in Europe, to get them either to get leaders extradited to Turkey or get them behind bars in Europe to shut down organizations. We also continue to do everything we can to encourage the Iraqi authorities who are to engage in dialogue with Turkey on all these matters and to take more effective steps to curtail and end such freedom of movement that may still exist in northern Iraq or elsewhere in Iraq for PKK terrorists,” he added.

     

    U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS

    The ambassador said the impact of the U.S. presidential elections in Nov. 4 on Turkey-U.S. relations would have two aspects. One of them would be the new administration’s fresh look at its Iraq policy and the other one would be Turkey’s membership in the United Nations Security Council.

     

    “Overall, frankly I don't see a full a lot of change but of course it would be up to our new president to establish a kind of relationship that he wants to see with Turkey. I expect it would be based on the strong appreciation of Turkey's very important role in a problematic world,” Wilson added.

     

    Democrat presidential hopeful Barack Obama is leading the Republican candidate John McCain in the polls ahead of the elections on Tuesday. Some observers say Obama’s victory might cause a problematic period in the relations of two countries given the fact that his approach to the “Armenian genocide” claims.

     

    Wilson said it is hard for him, as a government official, to comment on what political candidates say, but added that he assumes and expects the next administration would weight carefully its policy decision on any one issue based on its effects on others where they have strong interest.

     

    “Maybe the most useful thing I can say is that I believe that Senator Obama and the advisors of Senator Obama have a strong appreciation of Turkey's importance to the United States, Turkey's importance in a very difficult part of the world and our need to find ways to work closely and effectively,” he said.

     

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