Turkey seeks Iraqi Kurds' help against rebels

Turkish leaders on Friday pressed the president of Iraq's Kurdish enclave to crack down on the Kurdish rebels launching cross-border attacks from their Iraqi mountain sanctuaries.
President Abdullah Gul met Massoud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, in Istanbul. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu already urged Barzani late Thursday to assist Turkey's fight against the guerrillas.
It was the first direct talks in 1 1/2 years between Turkish leaders and Barzani, which followed last month's Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq in response to the Oct. 19 killing of 24 soldiers by the rebels.
Turkey has long been urging the Iraqi Kurdish administration to cut supply lines in its territory used by the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and to arrest and hand over its leaders who live across the border in Iraq.
Turkish pressure has increased since PKK rebels intensified their attacks this summer. Iraqi Kurdish authorities have condemned the Oct. 19 attack but Turkish officials are demanding more.
Iraqi Kurds, which have their own police and armed force, are largely responsible for security in the northern areas of the country where the PKK operates rather than U.S. or Iraqi government troops.
Barzani's forces, known as peshmergas, had fought against the PKK alongside Turkish troops during incursions in 1990s.
Barzani and other Iraqi Kurdish officials also met regularly with Turkish officials during former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime. But relations cooled following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion as Kurdish national aspirations skyrocketed.
Turkey's government is again trying to win support of Iraqi Kurds as it is engaged in talks with the United States for possible deployment of Predator drones on Turkish soil after U.S. forces leave Iraq. The U.S. shares drone surveillance data with Turkey to aid its fight against the Kurdish rebels, who are branded a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.
The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since the rebels took up arms in 1984.