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Turkey, Iraq to sign agreement to combat terror
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Turkey and Iraq reached consensus on details of an agreement aiming to combat terror and will sign it on Thursday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday.


Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay held a 90-minute-longtalk in the Turkish capital of Ankara with his Iraqi counterpart Jawad al-Bulani, who arrived here Tuesday, on the agreement to join forces in fight against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).


Iraqi Interior Ministry Undersecretary Aydin Khalid was quoted as saying that no problem remains regarding the agreement and that it will be signed on Thursday.


Al-Bolani said that "We do not accept any person or any group that is against Turkey," adding that Baghdad was willing to improve bilateral relations with Turkey in all fields.


"I am here to further develop our bilateral ties and ready to discuss anything," noted Bolani, who leads other top officers from the Chief of General Staff and the intelligence services.


Bolani's visit follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in August that paved the way for the agreement.


Turkish diplomats are rushing to convince Iraq to finalize talks and to sign the agreement that would enable the two countries to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.


Ankara threatened military incursion into northern Iraq to strike the PKK base if Baghdad and Washington fail to curb the terrorists, who notably stepped up their attacks inside Turkey this year.


Turkey has accused the forces of Massoud Barzani, heads of the autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, of tolerating the group and even supplying it with weapons, possibly including ammunition received from the United States.


In June, the Turkish army said there were some 5,000 PKK militants in total, an estimated 2,800 to 3,100 of them based in northern Iraq.


The PKK has increased attacks on Turkish troops in southeastern Turkey in recent months, which led to rising Turkish demands for an incursion into northern Iraq to crush the rebels based there.


The group, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking decades of strife that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.


(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2007)

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