Iraqi president calls on Turkey not to attack

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PARIS, Oct 17 (Reuters) Iraqi President Jalal Talabani urged Turkey today not to launch an attack against Kurdish rebels in Iraq and said the government in Baghdad was ready to work with Ankara and Washington to resolve the problem.

''We hope the wisdom of our friend (Turkish) Prime Minister (Tayyip) Erdogan will be so active that there will be no military intervention,'' Talabani, speaking in English, told reporters after meeting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has telephoned Erdogan to reiterate Iraq's commitment to stopping Kurdish rebels from using the north of the country as a launchpad for attacks.

Turkey's parliament is expected today to grant its army permission to enter northern Iraq to crush Kurdish separatist rebels based there.

Talabani said Iraq wanted to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. ''We are ready to cooperate with the Turkish authorities and we are for activating the committee formed by America, Turkey and Iraq to solve this problem.'' He added that Iraq was opposed to what Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgents were doing and called on them to lay down their arms.

''We consider the activities of the PKK against the interests of the Kurdish people and against the interests of Turkey,'' he said.

''We have asked the PKK to stop fighting and end military activity.'' However, Baghdad's government has little sway over the largely autonomous Kurdish north of the country, which has its own government and security forces that are reluctant to take action against their own kin.

Ankara blames the PKK for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since the group launched an armed struggle for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

REUTERS PD ND1654

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