Last updated: 1 November, 2011

Iraqi Kurd leader to visit Turkey

Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani will visit Turkey at the weekend, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, just days after Ankara ended a major military operation against Kurdish rebels.

Barzani and Erdogan will meet on Saturday, the prime minister said at Ankara’s airport before leaving for an official visit to Germany.

Talks are expected to focus on the fight against Kurdish rebels using northern Iraq as a springboard for attacks into Turkish territory.

The Turkish military launched an operation in the area after an attack by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) last month killed 24 soldiers in the town of Cukurca near the Iraqi border, the army’s biggest loss since 1993.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since the summer.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.