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    US general in Iraq pledges to help Turkey with fight PKK terrorists

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    25.10.2008 - 11:58 | Son Güncelleme: 25.10.2008 - 12:29

    General Raymond Odierno, chief of American forces in Iraq, has visited Turkey to discuss plans to cooperate in fighting the terror organization, PKK, the US military said on Saturday.

    Odierno met General Hasan Igsiz, deputy chief of the Turkish General Staff, to discuss PKK terrorists launching attacks into Turkey from northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

     

    The meeting on Friday "centered on U.S. forces' ongoing assistance to Turkey" in its effort to defeat PKK, the military said in a statement.

     

    Their talks focused on continued assistance by U.S. forces to Turkey in Ankara’s efforts to battle the PKK, it added.

     

    "The PKK is a terrorist organization and has committed heinous crimes against the Turkish people," the statement quoted Odierno as saying.

     

    "I'm committed to work with the government of Turkey and the government of Iraq to prevent further atrocities."

     

    INTELLIGENCE SHARING TO CONTINUE

    Turkey has launched air strikes and shelled terrorist positions in recent weeks in the most recent twist of its long campaign to crush the PKK terrorists, who have carried out cross-border attacks from camps in mountain areas of Iraq near the Turkish border.

     

    Turkey has stepped up its military response since an attack from the PKK which killed 17 Turkish soldiers this month.

     

    PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S., the EU as well as the most of the international community. Washington had declared PKK as the "common enemy" with Turkey.

     

    Odierno promised to share intelligence in support of efforts against the PKK.

     

    "There are things we can do now, in the short-term, to help protect the lives of innocent people, and we're committed to supporting our Turkish and Iraqi partners in this effort," Odierno said.

     

    PKK attacks have been a strain to Iraqi-Turkish ties, but the two countries appear to be making a renewed diplomatic push to find a coordinated response to the conflict.

     

    Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call that the two countries, along with the United States, should work together to "end the danger" posed by the PKK.

     

    Turkish officials say around 2,000 PKK terrorists are holed up in the mountains of northern Iraq, where they enjoy free movement and use the area as a springboard to launch cross-border attacks.

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