Accessibility links

Bush, Turkish President Discuss Kurdish Rebels


U.S. President George Bush and Turkish President Abdullah Gul say their countries are working together to fight Kurdish rebels based in Iraq. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, the two men spoke to reporters following talks in the Oval Office.

President Bush says Turkey is a constructive bridge between Europe and the Islamic world and a great strategic partner for the United States.

"We deal with common problems," he said. "One such problem is our continuing fight against a common enemy, and that is terrorists. And such a common enemy is the PKK. It is an enemy to Turkey, it is an enemy to Iraq, and it is an enemy to people who want to live in peace."

The United States and Turkey both consider the Kurdistan Workers' Party - or PKK - a terrorist group. Turkish forces have recently launched cross-border raids into northern Iraq against the Kurdish rebels. The United States says it has been assisting Turkey with intelligence information on the PKK.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. That violence has killed more than 30,000 people.

President Gul thanked President Bush for his determination against the PKK and for Washington's continued support of Istanbul's efforts to join the European Union.

President Gul said the men also discussed energy security and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

"The president is engaged very much in efforts to ensure peace in the Middle East, and we believe that these are important efforts which can yield results," he said. "We also discussed Iraq, and we will continue to discuss issues such as Iraq, the Balkans and other issues."

During his trip to the Middle East this week, President Bush will visit Israel, the West Bank, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. In addition to trying to rally support for talks aimed at an independent Palestinian state, President Bush says he will also discuss efforts to counter what he says are aggressive ambitions from Iran.

Washington says Iran is enriching uranium for possible use in a nuclear weapons program. Tehran says it is enriching uranium solely for the peaceful civilian purpose of generating electricity.

XS
SM
MD
LG