Turkey's FM arrives unexpectedly in Jiddah, met by Saudi counterpart

October 21, 2007 16:52


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Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan arrived unexpectedly in Jiddah on Sunday - the third Arab country he has visited since the Turkish parliament authorized the government to send troops into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish rebels. Babacan was met by his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud, the official news agency, SPA, reported. The agency did not provide more details. Babacan has already visited Lebanon and Egypt, a top US ally in the Arab world. During his previous stops, Babacan said his country was drawing up a plan to send troops into northern Iraq to fight Kurdish guerrilla groups after long attempting to work with the US and Iraqi governments to resolve the problems of Kurdish guerrillas who use northern Iraq as a rear base to attack Turkish territory. Kurdish separatists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, have bastions in the mountainous areas across the Iraqi-Turkish frontier. They have been fighting since 1984 for autonomy in Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast, a conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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