Turkey works on PKK issue with Baghdad

Dec. 21, 2009 at 4:50 PM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay met behind closed doors Monday with leaders in Iraqi Kurdistan to discuss looming issues with Kurdish separatists.

Baghdad hosted a weekend summit with U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials to discuss finding a political solution to simmering regional conflict associated with the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

U.S. President George W. Bush in 2007 established a trilateral committee to coordinate efforts on addressing the issue with the PKK.

Atalay described the meeting as a success, saying all sides agreed on a "roadmap" for "the destruction of the PKK," Turkey's Anatolia News Agency reported.

Ankara is moving forward with a democratic initiative meant to resolve the Kurdish question. Part of that initiative involves closing the Makhmour refugee camp in northern Iraq, home to several PKK figures.

Sherwan al-Waili, the Iraqi minister of state for national security, said closing the camp would go a long way toward addressing security concerns in both countries.

Ankara's efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue were complicated by a recent decision to ban the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party because of alleged ties to the PKK. The ban sparked violent protests throughout much of the Kurdish south of Turkey.

The bilateral meeting with Atalay and Kurdish officials was closed to the media.

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