ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey and Iraq will wage a joint struggle against Kurdish rebels operating along their shared mountainous border, the Turkish prime minister said Wednesday after meeting with his visiting counterpart from Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan also agreed to meet regularly to discuss efforts in fighting the rebel group Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK.
Turkey has been bombing rebel hideouts across the border in Iraq and calling on Baghdad to help eradicate the group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people.
Erdogan hailed Baghdad’s recognition of the PKK as a “terrorist organization” earlier this year, saying the consensus was an important milestone in relations. “Terrorism is our common concern,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference after meeting with al-Maliki.
“We should not allow the PKK terrorism to weaken our relations,” said al-Maliki, who also met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his one-day visit to Ankara.
Erdogan said the two prime ministers would meet once a year, while their foreign ministers would meet three times a year.