Bloomberg News

Turkey to Work With Iran Amid Attack Against PKK in North Iraq

October 21, 2011

Oct. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Iranian counterpart agreed on joint operations to combat terrorism after Turkey sent troops into northern Iraq to fight the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

Turkey and Iran will coordinate their efforts and establish a security commission that will meet “very soon,” Davutoglu said after meeting with Ali Akbar Salehi in Ankara, according to state-run Anatolia news agency. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed yesterday to destroy the PKK, classed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, after a series of attacks in southeastern Turkey killed 30 soldiers and policemen.

The meeting follows Erdogan’s call on the international community to aid Turkish efforts in combating terrorism, gaining support from President Barack Obama, the EU and Iraqi Kurdistan. While Iran condemned the PKK’s attacks, it has said Turkey’s decision to host a radar as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization missile shield creates tensions and will lead to complications. The countries’ intelligence and security forces recently have been in close contact, Davutoglu said.

“We will work together under a joint-operation plan until we completely eradicate the threat of terrorism,” Davutoglu said. “The formation of regional cooperation against this terrorist organization that threatens the region’s states and people is inevitable.”

Meeting With Iraq

An Iraqi delegation from the parliamentary foreign relations committee will meet with Davutoglu in Ankara later today, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said.

Iraq and Iran last week said they set up a joint “security committee” to fight the PKK’s affiliate in Iran, Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan or PJAK.

Nechirvan Barzani, deputy chairman of Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani’s party, said yesterday after meeting Davutoglu that the region’s government will expand cooperation with Turkey.

The pledge of support contrasts with the authorities in Baghdad. After the PKK’s most recent assault, Labeed Abbawi, Iraq’s deputy foreign minister, said his government opposes “the shelling and the direct interference” by Turkey.

--With assistance from Ladane Nasseri in Dubai, Caroline Alexander in London, and Khalid Al-Ansary in Baghdad. Editors: Ben Holland, Jennifer Freedman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emre Peker in Ankara at epeker2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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