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Iraqi PM Meets With Turkey's Leaders

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pose for cameras before a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, 21 Oct 2010

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has met with top officials in Turkey, the latest stop on his regional tour to boost support for his bid to stay in power.

Mr. Maliki traveled to Turkey Thursday for what he called a "short but very important visit." The state-run Anatolia news agency says he sought to boost relations with Turkey in his talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul.

Mr. Maliki's Shi'ite-dominated coalition finished in a close second place in March elections, behind a Sunni-back bloc led by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Both groups fell short of the majority needed to govern.

On Wednesday, Mr. Maliki traveled to Egypt where he met with President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's state-run MENA news agency said the two leaders discussed efforts to form a national unity government in Iraq. Mr. Maliki has also traveled to Iran, Syria and Jordan.

His visit to Turkey comes a little over a week after the country's parliament voted to extend a military mandate to carry out operations against Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq by one year.

Turkey's military has repeatedly carried out assaults against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq. The militant group has been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey.

Turkey says some PKK rebels have found shelter in a northern Iraq enclave and used the region as a base for attacks on Turkish territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.