The future of Iraq will be high on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's agenda when he heads to Washington to meet with President George W. Bush on Jan. 28. Backed by the Turkish military, Erdogan's government is strongly opposed to any formula that would allow substantial political and economic autonomy for the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Iraqi Kurds have maintained a quasi-independent enclave since the 1991 gulf war. Turkey fears that a Kurdish entity next door might stir up separatist sentiments among its own sizeable Kurdish population. Erdogan recently met with leaders of Syria and Iran to seek support for his stance. The U.S. wants to hand over sovereignty to the Iraqis by June 30 -- but hasn't reached agreement on how to form a government.
Edited by Rose Brady