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Iran, Turkey pledge cooperation against Kurdish rebels

October 21, 2011 | 11:53 am

A Turkish military convoy near the Iraqi border
The foreign ministers of Iran and Turkey pledged Friday to cooperate against ethnic Kurdish rebels as Turkish troops backed by warplanes pressed an assault against militants on both sides of the border with Iraq.

"We will work together in a common action plan until the area is completely free of the threat of terror," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said at a joint news conference in Ankara, the Turkish capital, according to Reuters news service.

Turkey launched the cross-border offensive on Wednesday after at least 24 of its soldiers were killed and 18 wounded in the latest of a series of attacks blamed on the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK. The group has been locked into a decades-long separatist fight with Turkey, which like Iran has a large Kurdish minority. Tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said the PKK and its Iranian affiliate, the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, were "common problems" for both countries.

"We should fight them with more serious coordination," Salehi was quoted as saying.


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-- Alexandra Zavis in Los Angeles

Photo: A Turkish military convoy drives down a mountain road in Yemisli, near the Iraqi border, on Friday. Credit: Osman Orsal / Reuters