UK backs Turkey in terror fight

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today promised to help Turkey “root out” PKK terrorists launching attacks against the country from bases inside Iraq.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today promised to help Turkey “root out” PKK terrorists launching attacks against the country from bases inside Iraq.

But after No 10 talks with Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan the Prime Minister also pledged to work for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The Turkish parliament has mandated its government to strike back at the rebel bases and Mr Erdogan told reporters in Downing Street: “The Iraqi government must know we can exercise this mandate we have received from the Turkish parliament at any time.”

He said his government had tried for months to reach successful agreements with the Iraqi administration, adding: “We cannot wait for ever, so we have to make decisions, our own decisions.”

Mr Brown said: “We condemn absolutely and unequivocally the terrorist violence of PKK.

“The fact that 12 members of the Turkish army have been killed, the fact that eight have now been kidnapped and that civilian violence has resulted from their activities within Turkey is something the whole world community has condemned in the last few days.

“We are committed to work with the Turkish government on counter-terrorism activity so we can root out these problems and we will continue to work for a diplomatic solution to the problems that exist from within Iraq.

“This is where the Iraqi government and others can play a part in ensuring there is a proper solution to these difficulties.”

Mr Brown stressed again: “We unequivocally condemn what the PKK has done, both the deaths of army soldiers, the kidnapping of men and the threat and injuries to civilians.

“We will proscribe the PKK and organisations associated with it in the UK. We will step up our counter-terrorism cooperation with the Turkish government to deal with this issue.

“As far as Iraq is concerned we will step up all the efforts that are necessary so that terrorists cannot move from Iraq over the mountains.

“We believe the actions we are prepared to take internationally give some support to the Turkish government in these difficult circumstances.

“We will work together to deal with any terrorist atrocities that exist. We will step up efforts together so we can deal with the terrorist threat that clearly exists.”

Thousands of Turks gathered today for the funerals of the 12 soldiers killed in the weekend’s Kurdish rebel attack.

Crowds also gathered in Istanbul and in cities across Turkey, waving flags and holding up posters of modern Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Around 10,000 people attended the funeral of Vedat Kutluca, one of those who died in an ambush by PKK rebels near the border with Iraq on Sunday.

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