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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq Pledges to Stop Kurdish Rebels

APA Romanian cattle farmer blowing a horn Tuesday in a protest outside the Agriculture Ministry in Bucharest. About 150 farmers demanded higher subsidies after the EU threatened to withhold 110.8 million euros in farm handouts.
BAGHDAD -- Iraq said Tuesday that it would rein in Kurdish rebels who are attacking Turkey from mountain hideouts near the border after Ankara threatened to send forces into Iraqi territory to confront the guerrillas.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan flew to Baghdad for crisis talks with Iraq's leaders and said he had received assurances that Iraq would support Turkey in fighting "terrorism."

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was giving diplomacy a chance but reminded Iraq that Turkey's parliament had given the go-ahead for a military incursion at any time.

PKK separatists, operating from northern Iraq, killed at least 12 Turkish soldiers in weekend fighting.

"Right now we are in a waiting stance but Iraq should know we can use the mandate for a crossborder operation at any time," Erdogan told a joint news conference in London, after talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

He later ratcheted up pressure by telling an investors' conference in London that Turkey might impose trade sanctions.

"We may impose some sanctions with respect to some goods we export to Iraq," Erdogan said. Bilateral trade between the countries is worth around $5 billion per year.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Babacan that Iraq would restrict the movement of the PKK rebels and target their funding. But it was not clear whether this would be enough to placate Turkey.

"I assured the minister that the Iraqi government will actively help Turkey to overcome this menace," Zebari, himself a Kurd, told a news conference. "We will not allow any party, including the PKK, to poison our bilateral relations."