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Turks hold anti-U.S. rallies in Istanbul upon Rice's arrival for Iraq meeting
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10:37, November 03, 2007

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Sporadic rallies were held on Friday across Istanbul to protest against what the Turks called the U.S. double standards on terrorism.

The rallies were held when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Istanbul for an international meeting on Iraq after holding talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara.

A group of protestors gathered amid heightened securities near the Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel, where Rice is to stay for the night before the Iraq conference, wielding banners and slogans saying "Rice (Yankees) go home."

Turkey has threatened a military incursion into northern Iraq, from where the PKK launched attacks, but so far the United States has been dissuading Turkey from launching any major military action.

The U.S. stance has aroused anger among the Turks, who accused Washington of having double standards on campaign against terrorism.

While the U.S. launched the so-called anti-terror wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is dragging its feet in helping its NATO ally Turkey to crush the PKK, branded as a terrorist group by Washington and the European Union, they denounced.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center in Washington put the U.S. favorability rating in Turkey at 9 percent, down from a height of 52 percent in year 2000. It also found that Turks seethe United States as the single biggest threat to their national security.

Media reports held that Rice's Istanbul trip is also tasked to boost Turkey's confidence on the United States.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to meet U.S. President George W. Bush on Monday over the rising tensions between the two governments on the PKK issue.

Erdogan has warned that relations between the two NATO allies hinge on whether Bush agrees to take "concrete, urgent steps" against the PKK.


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