Turkish PM pledges support for Iraq

Erdogan says Baghdad offers backing in tackling Kurdish fighters in Iraq's north.

    Erdogan and al-Maliki are to sign bilateral trade deals and discuss the issue of the PKK [AFP]

    "The PKK is a threat not only to Iraq and Turkey but to the whole region. We don't allow such organisations to poison the relations between the two countries."

    Cross-border raids

    Turkish troops regularly carry out cross-border raids into northern Iraq, where Ankara says more than 2,000 Kurdish fighters are base themselves in order to carry out attacks inside Turkey.

    In February, Turkish troops conducted a week-long ground offensive against a PKK camp in the Zap area. The operation left more than 200 PKK fighters dead, according to the Turkish army.

    Blacklisted as a terrorist group by the EU and the US, the PKK has been fighting for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

    Baghdad said it and Ankara had decided to set up a high level team to address strategic issues, including "supporting the efforts of the Iraqi government in fighting terrorism an  preserving Iraq's independence, full sovereignty, territorial  integrity and national unity against threats."

    Erdogan is only the second leader from one of Iraq's neighbours to visit since the March 2003 invasion, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, made a historic trip in March.

    His visit came a day after men opened fire on the US consulate in Istanbul, triggering a shootout that left the three men, and three police officers dead.
       
    Ergdogan pladged to support reconstruction efforts, while Baghdad said it would look into building a pipeline network to transport natural gas from Iraq to international markets through Turkey.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.