Turkish, Iraqi Kurds to hold peace meet .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;} .hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;} ANKARA - Kurds from Turkey and Iraq will hold a peace conference inEurope and discuss the conditions of a peace process, the leader of the pro-Kurdish DTP, Ahmet Türk says. He says the outlawed PKK was invited but declined to attend.

Kurdish leaders from Turkey and Iraq will hold a peace conference aimed at ending decades of violence by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the head of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party said Thursday.

Ahmet Türk said the conference, which would take part in Europe or in Iraq, was agreed during a recent trip to northern Iraq, where he met Iraq's President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi Kurdish leaders.

Turkey, the European Union and United States consider the PKK a terrorist organization. The group has bases in northern Iraq from where it launches attacks on Turkey in pursuit of an independent Kurdish homeland.

"Kurds will hold a conference and discuss the conditions of a peace process," Türk told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday. "Kurds have to focus on a peace process and put forward a common understanding on the issue."

Türk said the PKK had been invited, but a spokesman for the outlawed group in Iraq said it welcomed the conference but it would not attend. Türk did not say when the conference would happen.

The DTP seeks more cultural and political rights for Turkey's Kurds and has insisted a democratic solution should be found. The conference could exert some pressure on the PKK to voice willingness to put down its arms.

Turkey has long complained that Iraq is failing to curb PKK fighters who cross the border to launch attacks against it, but Baghdad and Ankara have recently stepped up contacts to fight Kurdish separatist guerrillas.

The Turkish military has carried out several air strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq in recent months as casualties on both sides have risen.

Türk, whose party faces a possible ban in a court case on charges of links with the PKK, said the ending of what he called discrimination against Kurds in Turkey would encourage the PKK to lay down arms. The Turkish government and the EU have called on the DTP to condemn PKK violence more clearly.

"The problem cannot be solved by (the PKK) resorting to weapons and cannot be solved by operations and force (by the Turkish military). This is a political problem with political solutions," he said.