samedi 10 septembre 2011

Coopération contre le PKK : visite de Feridun Sinirlioğlu à Bagdad prévue

Circle tightening on PKK from two fronts
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Friday, September 9, 2011
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News

Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu will travel to Baghdad on Saturday to discuss measures against an outlawed terrorist group before holding similar talks with Iraqi Kurdish officials in Arbil on Sunday, a ministry spokesman has said.

The senior Turkish official’s visits in Iraq come amid speculation that Turkey is considering a cross-border ground operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK’s, bases in northern Iraq.

“Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu will travel to Baghdad on Saturday to hold talks with Iraqi authorities as part of regular consultations between Turkish and Iraqi ministries. He will proceed to Arbil later. His talks will focus on Turkey-Iraq relations as well as the fight against terrorism,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said in a press briefing Friday.

Iraqi Kurdish official Nechirvan Barzani reportedly wanted to visit Ankara next week, but Foreign Ministry officials did not confirm his application to come to Turkey, instead reminding that Sinirlioğlu was already set to pay a visit to Arbil on the same issue.

Earlier this week, the president of the Regional Kurdish Administration in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani, called on Kurdish militants to end their armed fight and instead seek their goals through diplomacy. “We are in a difficult situation because there are two countries [Iran and Turkey] telling us to control our borders so there will be no problems,” Barzani said in Arbil. “[But] we are afraid to send forces to the borders for fear of a Kurdish-Kurdish war. I call on the two sides to stop the idea of obtaining their rights through military means.”

The announcement of Sinirlioğlu’s visit coincided with a visit by Turkey’s military chief, Gen. Necdet Özel, and other top commanders to a military unit located near the southeastern city of Hakkari, close to the Iraqi border. The commanders recently visited other military units in Malatya, Batman, Siirt and Şırnak.

Following a recent increase in terror attacks, the Turkish military launched aerial operations against PKK targets in northern Iraq, killing as many as 160 militants in August. The Iraqi government has, however, expressed uneasiness about the airstrikes in its territory.

The PKK uses its bases in northern Iraq to launch attacks on Turkey. The last major Turkish air and ground offensive against PKK bases in northern Iraq was in early 2008.

The PKK’s alleged Iranian wing, the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK, which operates mostly in Iran from bases in northern Iraq, has also recently been confronted by a tough response from Iranian security forces. Regional Kurdish Administration head Barzani reportedly plans to pay a visit to Iran to discuss the issue.
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