Turkey vows to tackle threats from Iraqi territories

Turkey vows to tackle threats from Iraqi territories
# 14 October 2011 02:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that Ankara’s patience has run out on threats against Turkey posed from terrorist activities in northern Iraq, vowing to take the most effective measures, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"We no longer have any patience with terrorist activities emanating from the Iraqi territory and threatening Turkey," Davutoglu said in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

The visiting Iraqi foreign minister met with Davutoglu to discuss the upcoming meeting of the bilateral council of ministers, particularly focusing on the fight against the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).

The Iraqi foreign minister expressed his government’s determination in the struggle against the PKK, stressing that the issue should not poison the ties between the two countries.

The presence of the PKK rebels in the north is "unacceptable," Zebari said, adding the problem could only be resolved through " good neighborly relations" between Turkey and Iraq.

"The presence of the PKK terrorist organization in Iraq is against the Iraqi constitution. Iraqi side reaffirmed the determination of the prime minister of the Republic of Iraq to eliminate PKK and all other terrorist organizations’ presence in Iraq," said a joint statement of the two countries issued after the press conference.

Both countries will enhance their cooperation in their struggle against terrorism in accordance with international law, said the statement.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in prominently Kurdish southeast of Turkey in 1984, leading to a conflict that has claimed more than 40,000 lives.

Turkey has launched many air strikes since August in Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq, where the PKK uses as a base.

The air strikes have strained relations with Baghdad, which summoned the Turkish ambassador in August to ask for an immediate end to the military operations.

As Iraq rejects Turkey’s cross-border operations into Iraq, Zebari stressed Iraq and Turkey would resolve the problem in the framework of bilateral agreements.

The Iraqi foreign minister said Baghdad was willing to increase pressure on the PKK, while saying his country did not have the resources to defeat the group.

"We are discussing to enhance our agreement on struggle against terror. We decided to boost tripartite mechanism between Turkey, Iraq and the United States," Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi told Turkey’s NTV news channel on Wednesday, ahead of Zebari’s visit to Ankara.

Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. have set up a tripartite mechanism in order to coordinate efforts in the fight against the PKK.

Abbawi also said they would also take extra measures on the alleged PKK link in the Makhmour refugee camp, a UN camp in northern Iraq, which Turkey claims is a prime recruiting ground for the group.