ANKARA, Turkey – The United States and Turkey (search) have discussed possible military measures against an estimated 5,000 Turkish Kurdish rebels (search) in northern Iraq, the Turkish military said Saturday.
The statement did not say what those possible measures might be. It came a day after two top U.S. generals held talks in the Turkish capital in an apparent effort to smooth relations between the two countries.
Gen. John Abizaid, (search) the new head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in Iraq, and Gen. James L. Jones, who serves both as NATO's (search) supreme allied commander and the head of U.S. forces in Europe, met separately Friday with Turkey's top military brass, including military leader Gen. Hilmi Ozkok.
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained since March, when Turkey rejected a U.S. request to allow the deployment of more than 60,000 U.S. troops for the war in Iraq. The ill will deepened when the United States detained 11 Turkish special forces in northern Iraq earlier this month.
Turkey's military said the two sides discussed "what can be done jointly" against what the Kurdish "terror organization" in northern Iraq. In view of the detention incident, both sides decided to establish better coordination, the statement said.
The United States alleged the Turkish soldiers detained in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniyah (search) were part of a plot to assassinate an Iraqi Kurdish official. Turkey denied the plot.
Turkey maintains several thousand troops in northern Iraq to chase Kurdish rebels who fought a 15-year war for autonomy in southeastern Turkey and to monitor the situation in northern Iraq. But those troops fall outside the scope of the U.S.-led mission.
The Turkish military said the two sides also discussed other military cooperation to establish stability and security in Iraq. The statement did not elaborate.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul (search), who plans to travel to Washington next week, said the United States would ask Turkey to contribute peacekeepers to Iraq.