Turkey, Iraq Sign Military Cooperation Deal

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ANKARA (AFP) — Turkey and Iraq have signed a preliminary accord on military cooperation, the Turkish army said Wednesday.

The document, which envisages cooperation on military training and technical issues, was signed here Tuesday by the Iraqi army’s deputy chief of staff Nasier Abadi and his Turkish counterpart Hasan Igsiz, the statement said.

Separately, Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, a frequent visitor to Turkey, was to hold talks with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Wednesday.

Ankara has sought close ties with Baghdad, eager to boost bilateral trade and enlist Iraqi support against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whose members take refuge in the mountains of northern Iraq and use the area as a springboard for attacks on Turkish targets across the border.

Aided by US intelligence, Turkish warplanes have bombed PKK hideouts in northern Iraq since December 2007 under a parliamentary authorization, which expires in October.

Last year, Iraq, Turkey and the United States formed a joint committee to track the threat posed by the PKK and enact measures to curb the militants.

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