'Iran, Turkey cooperate against Kurds'

Report: First confirmation that the two nations are working together against the PKK and PEJAK.

turkey kurds 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
turkey kurds 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Turkey and Iran have been carrying out coordinated strikes against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, a top general told media Thursday in the first military confirmation of Iranian-Turkish cooperation in the fight against separatists there. Gen. Ilker Basbug, Turkey's land forces commander, said the two countries have been sharing intelligence and planned more coordinated attacks in the future against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and PEJAK, the group's Iranian wing. "We are sharing intelligence with Iran, we are talking, we are coordinating," Private CNN-Turk television quoted Basbug as telling reporters on the sidelines of a security conference in Istanbul. "When they start an operation, we do too," the general said. "They carry out an operation from the Iranian side of the border, we from the Turkish side." The general was quoted as saying no coordinated action had taken place in the past couple of months, but that more cooperation was possible if deemed necessary. "We haven't done it in the past one or two months, but we can do it again," he said. The report did not give any details on the strikes or the targets. The PKK, which has bases in northern Iraq, has been fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey since 1984. Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict. The main rebel camp is on Mt. Qandil, which sits on the Iraqi-Iranian border. Turkey and Iran have shelled the area. Iran alleges that rebels from PEJAK, or the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, are also based on Mt. Qandil. PEJAK is fighting for Kurdish rights in Iran. The United States has labeled the PKK a terrorist organization and supports Turkey's fight against the group by providing intelligence on the rebels. The Turkish military has launched air assaults on Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in recent months. In February, it staged an eight-day, ground offensive that did not go as far as Qandil.