Report: Turkish FM, U.S. Rice discuss PKK issue on phone 2007-12-20 22:58:12   Print

    ANKARA, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice held phone talks on Wednesday evening over Turkey's operations against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.

    Turkish diplomatic sources were quoted as saying that Babacan and Rice discussed the operation against the PKK in the north of Iraq, adding that during the phone conversation, Babacan told Rice that Turkey was pleased with intelligence sharing from the United States.

    Babacan reiterated that the operation was not against territorial integrity of Iraq, the Iraqi people or its natural resources, but against elements of "terrorist organization in the north of Iraq."

    Rice told Babacan that she was also pleased with the intelligence sharing and it functioned well, saying that the PKK was a common enemy for both Turkey and the U.S.

    Rice said there was still sensitivity in general situation in Iraq, but there is also progress there.

    Babacan said Turkey still have some expectations from the regional administration in the north of Iraq.

    It was reported that Turkish chief of staff General Yasar Buyukanit said earlier in the week that the United States gave the green light for Sunday's air raids by providing "intelligence" and opening Iraqi air space.

    On Sunday, the Turkish warplanes carried out air strikes at some villages near the border in the Qandil mountains, killing a woman and wounding six people, according to a Kurdish security source.

    A statement from the Turkish General Staff posted on its Web site said the Turkish warplanes bombed positions of PKK rebels in northern Iraq.

    On Tuesday, at least 300 Turkish troops entered northern Iraqi territories overnight in the hope of flushing out Kurdish rebels there.

    Since late October, Turkey has deployed about 100,000 troops along Turkish-Iraqi borders in preparations for a possible cross-border operation to crush about 3,000-strong PKK rebels.

    The PKK, listed by the United States and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.

Editor: Yan Liang
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