Ankara gives double-barrel anti-PKK fight

Ankara gives double-barrel anti-PKK fight

ANKARA- Hürriyet Daily News
Ankara gives double-barrel anti-PKK fight

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaks at meeting. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Turkey will raise the pressure on both Arbil and Baghdad to further cooperate in its fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Turkish foreign minister said yesterday. “While launching an intensified and deep relationship with all segments of Iraq, we have also intensified our contacts with the Iraqi central government and northern Iraqi regional government for the full elimination of the terror organization from Iraq,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.

“We will continue to increase our demands and pressure on them,” Davutoğlu added.

Masoud Barzani, leader of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), recently paid a three-day visit to Istanbul on Turkey’s invitation to discuss possible means to jointly fight the PKK. Barzani, himself a Kurd whose fundamental political goal is to establish an independent Kurdish state, did not promise much but acknowledged Turkey’s concerns.

The fight against terror is among the top priorities of Turkey’s foreign policy, Davutoğlu said, vowing to prevent the PKK from raising funds in European countries.

“It is not just the physical existence of the terror organization in northern Iraq, but the financial support coming from these EU countries that makes these terror acts happen,” he said.

Cooperation between Turkey and the United States was also strengthened by fresh steps taken during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in New York that made the transfer of four Predators to Adana’s İncirlik Base possible, Davutoğlu said. “We will not allow any vacuum in Iraq during the U.S. withdrawal process from the country.”

Davutoğlu also linked the increase in terror acts with Turkey’s rise as a democratic and economic power and hinted that these attacks were used by powers who wanted to prevent Turkey from realizing its vision of becoming a regional leader.