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23.02.2009

Iraq-based joint command center in fight against PKK starts operations

Hurriyet Daily News Online

The Arbil-based joint command center established by Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. to fight against the PKK has launched operations against the terror organization, sources told hurriyet.com.tr. (UPDATED)
The trilateral command center in the northern Iraqi province of Arbil, which aims at pursuing and destroying the terror organization PKK in the field, has officially launched operations.     
Turkey, Iraq and the U.S. decided to form a joint committee in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil to combat the PKK, which launches cross-border attacks on Turkey from bases in the neighboring country, as part of efforts to boost cooperation against the terrorists.
The center includes military and civilian officials from Turkey, the United States, the Iraqi central government and the regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq.
Besides destroying the PKK in the field, the command center targets providing security along the Turkey-Iraq border, and providing intelligence to Turkey.
Turkey, who has long blamed the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq for supporting the PKK, has recently intensified its contacts with officials from both the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish administration.
Turkey's special envoy to Iraq, Murat Ozcelik, met last week Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Baghdad, the leader of the regional Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, Massoud Barzani in Selahaddin and prime minister of the Kurdish administration Nechirvan Barzani in Arbil regarding the working mechanism of the command center.
The director of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Keith Alexander, also discussed the issue with officials from Turkish General Staff and Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) during his meetings in Ankara last week, the sources also told hurriyet.com.tr.