Iraq's Zebari: PKK shall not poison bilateral ties with Turkey
ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News | 10/13/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Turkey will continue to cooperate with Iraq in its war against the outlawed PKK, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu expresses, following a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Ankara.
Turkey has lost patience in the fight against terrorists based in camps in the mountains of northern Iraq, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday.
“We can no longer tolerate terrorist actions from Iraq territories,” Davutoğlu said during a press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari in Ankara.
Davutoğlu once more praised Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki’s recent remarks on taking a clear stance against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but asserted Turkey’s right to unilateral action against threats posed by militants from northern Iraq. Emphasizing the bilateral cooperation against terror, Davutoğlu said there would be further unilateral operations in Iraqi territories.
“Turkey will continue in its determination to take unilateral measures,” he said.
“The presence of the PKK terrorist organization in Iraq is against the Iraqi constitution. The Iraqi side reaffirmed the determination of the prime minister of the Republic of Iraq to eliminate the PKK and all other terrorist organizations in Iraq. Both countries will enhance their cooperation in their struggle against terrorism in accordance with international law,” a joint statement released after the press conference said.
“The presence of the PKK Kurdish rebels in the north is unacceptable,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said, adding that the problem could only be resolved through “good neighborly relations” between Turkey and Iraq, which suggested Iraq’s opposition to Turkey’s cross border operations into his country.
“The presence of PKK elements in mountainous areas is not legitimate under the Iraqi Constitution,” Zebari said during the press conference.
Iraq and Turkey will resolve the problem through the framework of bilateral agreements, he said. There were some serious initiatives to solve the problem and this problem would not last forever, he said, adding that Iraq understands Turkey’s legitimate concerns. Zebari declined to elaborate on new offerings for solutions when asked what further measures Iraq would take to eliminate PKK elements in their country.
“This is a long standing problem and can’t be solved with a single visit,” he said, adding that Iraq was willing to increase pressure on the PKK but his country did not have the resources now to defeat the group.
The ministers said the U.S., Turkey and Iraq have decided to re-launch their tripartite mechanism in the fight against the PKK. Bagdad also plans to take extra measures against alleged PKK links to the Makhmour refugee camp, a United Nations-camp in northern Iraq that Ankara claims is a recruiting ground for Kurdish militants.
The ministers also announced plans to hold a meeting of the bilateral High Level Strategic Cooperation Council in November. The ministers said Turkey and Iraq would address water issues and would cooperate on the issue via technical committees and the tripartite mechanism between Turkey, Iraq and Syria for dealing with water issues was suspended recently due to the uprising in Syria. Ankara and Bagdad have decided to discuss the issue in bilateral talks, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The two countries also plan to open new border gates, a plan which has been on the agenda for many years. They also plan to prepare a bilateral agreement on opening new border gates along the Turkish-Iraqi frontier in time for the next meeting of the high-level council. The two sides are planning to build a third bridge at the Habur border crossing and will hold a technical committee meeting to that end on Nov. 2-3.