Erdoğan pondering joint anti-PKK operation with US, hopes for peace come from Baghdad
Turkey’s foreign minister meets Iraqi leaders to find a common solution. Kurdish ceasefire offer is rejected.

Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United States is actively involved in the conflict opposing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey but it is not clear in which direction it is leaning. According to Turkish independent daily Hürriyet, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan talked by phone with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on his way to London for a state visit. He said that she proposed a "joint action" against PKK guerrilla fighters. Both the United States and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist organisation.

If international news agencies seem to confirm this view, Turkish nationalist newspaper Zaman quotes an anonymous official saying that Ms Rice asked Erdoğan to hold off three days to pull out its troops from the border area to avoid clashes with Turkish troops.

Making matters worse, another report from an Iraqi source claims that the regional government of Iraqi Kurdistan has ordered its peshmerga forces to get ready to resist any raid by the Turkish army.

Still the wheels of diplomacy are churning despite various military scenarios being talked about.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan travelled to Baghdad to discuss the crisis with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who also spoke to President Bush on the phone, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari.

“We will cooperate with the Turkish government to solve the border problems,” Mr Zebari said after talks with Babacan.

He seems to have committed his government to removing PKK fighters from the border.

In the meantime in Ankara the authorities have received notes from European and Arab countries calling for moderation.

The Turkish minister also reiterated his government’s refusal to accept the PKK’s ceasefire offer because it considers the Kurdish group a terrorist organisation.