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Turkey looks to Iraq to help end Kurdish conflict

Turkey looks to Iraq to help end Kurdish conflict
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The leader of Iraq’s Kurdish population has promised to do what he can to stop Kurdish rebels attacking Turkey.

Massoud Barzani and the Turkish Foreign Minister said they would build on trade ties that have become stronger in recent years.

Barzani is the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region along the Turkish border which is used as a base by Kurdish separatists involved in a 26-year armed conflict with Turkey.

He said in Ankara yesterday that his government is “against the continued violence” and would “expend all efforts” to end it.

PKK Kurdish rebels claim they are fighting for Turkey to give greater cultural and political rights to Kurds, who are in a majority in a region covering not just south-east Turkey, but also parts of Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Turkish military attacks on PKK targets on Iraqi soil have been a source of friction between Ankara and Iraq’s Kurdish government.

The PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, said from his jail cell last week that he was abandoning efforts towards a negotiated solution with the Turkish government.

A recent series of PKK attacks against the Turkish military targets have killed at least a dozen soldiers and policemen.