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Turkish, US Commanders Discuss Cooperation


Turkish, US Commanders Discuss Cooperation Against Kurdish Rebels

Two U.S. generals have held talks in Ankara with a top Turkish military official about cooperation in the fight against Kurdish rebels.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, and the vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, met Tuesday with Turkey's deputy chief of General Staff, General Ergin Saygun.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara says the talks focused on sharing intelligence, Iraq and fighting the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who both sides call their common enemy.

It says the meeting was a follow-up to talks earlier this month between President Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has massed troops along its southeastern border for a possible military strike on PKK bases in northern Iraq.

In Brussels today, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the threat of a major Turkish incursion has diminished because Iraq and Turkey have increased cooperation to secure the border region.


Turkish FM Ali Babacan holds a press conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, 20 Nov 2007
But, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, also in Brussels, said Turkey will use all the instruments available to combat the PKK including diplomatic, political and military ones.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to launch a cross border incursion into northern Iraq, fearing it could destabilize the relatively peaceful region.

Turkey accuses the PKK of launching deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

ENDS

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