Iraq says pact with Turkey best way to tackle PKK

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BAGHDAD, Oct 9 (Reuters) Iraq's government said today a security accord signed with Turkey late last month was the best way to deal with attacks by Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan gave the green light today for a possible military incursion into northern Iraq to crush Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels hiding there after a series of deadly attacks on Turkish security forces.

''The security agreement signed between Turkey and Iraq is the framework through which the security of the two countries can be preserved,'' Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

Turkey and Iraq signed an anti-terrorism deal on September 28 aimed against PKK rebels based in northern Iraq, but failed to agree on a plan that would have let Turkish troops chase militants across their common border.

Dabbagh condemned the latest PKK attack on Sunday, in which 13 Turkish soldiers were killed near the Iraqi border.

''The government expresses its condolences and sympathies to the Turkish people and restates that regional cooperation is a given to face all these terrorist groups,'' he said.

Under the security accord, Iraq and Turkey pledged to take all necessary measures, including financial and intelligence, to combat the PKK and other militant groups. They will hold six-monthly meetings to coordinate their work.

Iraq has said its own security forces are too stretched tackling insurgents elsewhere in the country to be sent to the mountains in the north where the PKK rebels are based.

Turkey blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group began its armed struggle in 1984 for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

REUTERS PDT BST2133

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