Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss Tuesday for talks that were expected to focus on a Kurdish rebel group that is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the E.U. Goss has been holding closed meetings under heavy security presence with Turkish intelligence and security officials since just after his arrival Sunday evening. The meetings will focus on cooperation in the war against terror, the Turkish prime minister said Sunday.
Turkish media reported that the country's fight against Kurdish rebels belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have been waging a violent insurgency in Turkey, will also be high on the agenda. Turkey borders Iraq and has been pressing the United States to crack down on the PKK and destroy its bases in Kurdish-run northern Iraq.
Goss' visit comes as Iraqi expatriates go to the polls to vote for parliamentary elections. At an overseas voting station in Istanbul, buses full of Turkmen, an ethnic group with close ties to Turkey, could be seen heading to cast their votes for parliament.
On Tuesday, Goss also visited the tomb of Ataturk, the Western-looking founder of the Republic of Turkey, and spent nearly an hour and a half with top police officials at the headquarters in Ankara. The meetings have all been held in private with few details made public.
"It's natural for Turkey to get information on the activities in the region," government spokesman Cemil Cicek said. Turkey, a secular but 99 percent Muslim nation and an important member of the NATO military alliance, has had historically close ties with the United States, reports the AP. N.U.
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