Turkey, Iraq Vow to Continue Fight Against Kurdish Rebels

Posted October 13th, 2011 at 10:55 am (UTC-5)
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Turkey's foreign minister has called on Iraq to prevent Kurdish attacks on his country from Iraqi soil, as the two countries renewed their commitment to fight the rebels.

Speaking Thursday at a joint news conference in Ankara with Iraq's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu welcomed Iraq's willingness to eliminate the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, but said Turkey's patience has run out. He said Turkey is determined to eradicate the rebel threat from northern Iraq and will take every measure toward that aim.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the presence of Kurdish rebels in the north is “unacceptable” but that his country does not presently have the resources to effectively control its borders. He said the problem can only be resolved through bilateral cooperation.

Turkey on Wednesday vowed to continue its cross-border operations into Iraq against Kurdish rebels who have been using the area to stage attacks on southeastern Turkey.

The PKK has escalated attacks against Turkish targets in recent weeks. Turkish forces have responded by increasing the number of airstrikes against suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq. In August, Turkey's military said it killed as many as 160 Kurdish rebels in air and artillery strikes across the border.

Kurdish rebels have waged a campaign for autonomy in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.