Turkey to consider Iraq President's proposal

Turkey will consider the creation of an office for cross-border cooperation suggested by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday.

Turkey to consider Iraq President's proposal
"We'll evaluate this proposal but no decision has been made yet. We'd like to improve relations with Iraq in every field," Babacan told reporters.

During a visit to Turkey that started Friday and aimed at improving relations that have been strained by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks, Talabani proposed the creation of a political institution to improve ties between the neighboring countries, either at the prime ministers' or foreign ministers' level.

His remarks came during a luncheon Saturday given by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who called for a new beginning in the two countries' relations, while stressing that "Turkey has always acted toward Iraq with feelings of friendship and brotherhood."

"I think that we are in a position today to demonstrate the necessary political will to open a new chapter in Turkish-Iraqi relations," said Erdoğan.

Ankara has been critical of Baghdad's failure to crack down on PKK militants based in northern Iraq. On Friday, Talabani said he had called on the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in the north to pressure the PKK to give up their weapons or leave the region.

The Iraqi president underlined that his country's constitution did not allow for organizations that could harm neighboring countries to exist on Iraqi soil.

"We are obviously opposed to an organization that launches attacks against a neighboring country and we will not allow it," he said.

Asked whether Turkey planned to make political overtures to the PKK, President Abdullah Gül said "an organization implicated in terrorism" could not be tolerated, adding that the terrorists must lay down their arms.


TDN
Last Mod: 11 Mart 2008, 12:04
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