Wide-ranging diplomacy working to engineer PKK disarmament
Turkey is developing a formula to convince the terrorist PKK to lay down its arms as part of an action plan it agreed to with Iraq and the United States in April. The government has recently intensified its diplomatic efforts with Iraq, the US, and other countries in the region, coinciding with a visit to Turkey today from the new US command in Iraq. Gen. Lloyd Austin, the commander of US forces in Iraq, is expected to meet with Land Forces Commander Gen. Erdal Ceylanoglu, Deputy Chief of Staff Aslan Guner, and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. Atalay, who held talks over the weekend in Erbil, the capital of the northern Iraqi Kurdish administration, is expected to soon meet with his counterparts from Syria and Iran and also speak with civilian representatives in southeastern Anatolia. National Intelligence Organization (MIT) head Hakan Fidan, following talks in Washington last week, is also expected to travel to northern Iraq within the next two weeks. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Atalay said the details of the plan would be discussed during the US delegation's visit. Atalay met Sunday with Massoud Barzani, president of the regional Kurdish administration, who reportedly said he was ready to help Turkish efforts to solve the terrorism problem, as violence is not the answer. Atalay briefed the Cabinet on Monday about his northern Iraq visit, while Fidan told the prime minister about his contacts in Washington.