Gates to tell Turkey to end incursion soon

Feb. 27, 2008 at 8:15 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Ending the Turkish incursion into northern Iraq topped the agenda of Turkish and Iraqi leaders meeting Wednesday in Baghdad.

Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey's chief foreign policy adviser, traveled Wednesday to Baghdad to discuss Turkey's ground operation against the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, Hurriyet reported.

U.S. Secretary Defense Robert Gates also was expected to ask Turkey to end its incursion. While in New Delhi, Gates said he would tell Turkish leaders when he meets with them Thursday in Ankara that "it's in everybody's interest for this operation to wrap up just as quickly as possible."

Gates indicated he would tell leaders that besides a military component, economic and political considerations must be part of the solution to end the problem with the PKK, as the rebel group is known by its Kurdish initials, Hurriyet said.

The Iraqi Cabinet Tuesday condemned the action as infringing on Iraqi sovereignty and called for an immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops. The regional Kurdistan parliament Tuesday demanded the closure of Turkish bases in northern Iraq.

Turkey began the operation last week to curb PKK attacks on Turkish targets. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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