They said Barzani has been preparing
to delineate a corridor to enable Turkish military operations in northern
"First, the PKK would be offered a deal to lay down its weapons and be
integrated into a regional defense architecture," the official said. "If
they refuse, then Turkey could expect Iraqi help in finding and eliminating
Officials said Barzani has established contact with the leadership of
the PKK, believed to have about 2,500 fighters in northern Iraq. They said
the KRG president urged the Kurdish fighters to surrender their weapons and
join the Kurdish security forces on a temporary basis.
Under the offer, PKK operatives who had not been involved in attacks
against Ankara would be allowed to cross into southeastern Turkey. Turkey
has submitted similar offers in the past.
Officials said Turkey did not believe that the PKK would lay down its
weapons. They pointed to a split within the Kurdish insurgency, in which at
least one faction has consistently violated proposed ceasefires.
Officials said Iraq has agreed to allow the Turkish military to cross
the border to battle the Kurdish Workers Party in the Kandil mountains. They
said the agreement would be contingent on a PKK refusal to stop attacks
against Turkey in 2010.
"This is a breakthrough, but it could take a few months for the new
arrangement to be implemented," an official said.
On Sept. 30, the PKK again announced an extension of its ceasefire with
Turkey. PKK leader Murat Karayilan said the latest extension would last a
"It is clear that the process will turn into an indefinite ceasefire if
mutual confidence-building steps towards peace are taken," Karayilan said.
"Otherwise, we will re-evaluate the situation."