Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, October 19, 2007

With threat of incursion looming, Kurds look for talks with Ankara on common concerns

The situation has hardened between Turkey and Iraq since Ankara’s decision this week to allow troops to be dispatched into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish guerrillas, leaving Iraqi leaders in a difficult position, The New York Times reported today.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) posted a statement on its website calling for direct dialogue with the Turkish government to avoid a military incursion into northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK fighters. “The KRG welcomes a direct dialogue with Ankara on all issues of common interest or concern, including the PKK. An incursion would be detrimental to all Iraq, to Turkey and the Middle East,” the statement said, as reported by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported today.

The KRG also affirmed its opposition to the PKK’s violent acts, but warned against meddling on the part of Turkey. “We do not interfere in the internal affairs of Turkey, and we expect the same in return,” the statement said, as reported by The New York Times. The statement also says that the KRG “condemns the killing of innocent people in Turkey and does not believe that violence solves any problem.”

Qubad Talabany, the KRG’s representative in Washington, also weighed in on the matter.

“We would like stronger reassurances by the United States that they would defend the Iraqi people, be it in the south, north or center, if they were threatened in any way,” Talabany told the Washington Times.

Meanwhile, State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey, responding to a question Thursday regarding U.S. contact with PKK leaders, said: “We consider the PKK a terrorist organization. We do not engage with – in conversations with terrorist groups.”

For the New York Times article, click here.

For the RFE/RFL article, click here.

For the Washington Times article, click here.

For the State Department’s Daily Press Briefing from Thursday, click here.


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