A special US envoy to Turkey has embarked on a difficult mission that is key to the security of this NATO ally and the stability of northern Iraq: countering Iraq-based Kurdish guerrillas who have been waging a decades-old war for autonomy in southeastern Turkey.
The envoy, retired Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, was scheduled to hold talks with Turkish leaders on Wednesday following three suspected bombings Tuesday by Kurdish rebels, including one that killed seven in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.
The appointment of the decorated retired general, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and former US deputy chief of staff - is partly meant to underscore the commitment of the United States to working with Turkey and Iraq to end the threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a rebel group that the US lists as a terrorist organization.
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