Iraqi PM in Turkey for key talks on PKK

  • The New Anatolian
  • 16/10/2006 00:00:00

Ankara - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki today begins a two-day visit to Turkey where he will discuss with Turkish authorities ways to eliminate the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from Iraq and the latest developments in the country.

During his crucial talks with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the Turkish side is expected to push al-Maliki into taking concrete steps to eliminate PKK terrorists from the country and to stop the terrorist group's activities in the country.

Al-Maliki recently ordered the closure of all PKK and PKK-affiliated offices in Iraq. Although the offices were reportedly closed down, Turkish diplomatic sources told The New Anatolian that some people are trying to reopen them under different names.

During the key talks Turkish officials are also expected to ask for a delay in next year's referendum to determine the final status of Kirkuk. Ankara believe the referendum could cause chaos in the already fragile politics of Iraq because given the latest forced Iraqi Kurdish immigration to the region, the oil-rich city of Kirkuk will be dominated by the Iraqi Kurdish administration as a result of the referendum, a development that would be opposed by other religious and ethnic Iraqi groups.

The latest developments in Iraq, Turkey's possible contribution to the development of the country and the latest regional and international developments are among the issues to be discussed during al-Maliki's visit.

According to sources, the Iraqi prime minister's delegation could also include newly appointed Iraqi Special Envoy for countering the PKK Shirwan al-Waili. U.S. sources told TNA that if al-Waili doesn't come to Turkey with al-Maliki, he could visit Turkey to hold talks with his Turkish counterpart later this month or early next month.

Al-Maliki's visit is crucial since it follows that of U.S. Special Envoy for countering the PKK Gen. Joseph Ralston last week, where he and his Turkish counterpart retired Gen. Edip Baser discussed future steps that will be taken to eliminate the terrorism threat. During Ralston's talks with Gul, the foreign minister urged Washington to take concrete steps in the fight against terrorism, warning that the mechanism shouldn't be turned into a distraction mechanism.

However, it's still unknown when a trilateral meeting that includes the Turkish, U.S. and Iraqi special envoys will be held. While Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan last week ruled out a planned meeting for the trilateral mechanism, stating that it's not on the offing, Gen. Baser stated last week that the inclusion of the Iraqi envoy in talks depends on the success of the meetings.

  • The New Anatolian
  • 16/10/2006 00:00:00