The US-appointed coordinator in the struggle against PKK terror, retired General Joseph Raltson, is expected in Ankara on January 30. Raltson, who has been the target of complaint from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other administration officials in Ankara, will be meeting with his Turkish counterpart in the anti-PKK coordination, retired General Edip Baser.
Anticipated as a main topic for discussion between Raltson and Baser is the failure by US troops in northern Iraq to hand over two PKK leaders, Murat Karayilan and Cemil Bayik, despite Turkish forces' repeated attempts to inform US troops as to the two mens' whereabouts.
Yesterday in Ankara meanwhile, US Ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, made comments which appeared to confirm the direction of meetings next week between the two retired generals. Said Wilson "Turkey should be working in coordination with the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq against the PKK." Wilson's comments elicited an immediate angry reaction from Baser himself yesterday, the former general noting that in recent months, the northern Iraqi Kurdish leadership had been working to protect the presence of the PKK in its region, and that, as such, it would difficult for Ankara to work directly with this leadership.