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Rice: Effective action to be taken against PKK
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10:22, November 03, 2007

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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Friday said the U.S. will take effective action and cooperate with Turkey against Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq, local media reported.

Speaking to reporters en route to the Turkish capital, Rice again called on Turkey to show restraint over any cross-border incursion to fight against the separatist Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Calling the PKK as a "common enemy," Rice said the United States, Turkey and Iraq must work together to effectively fight Kurdish rebels.

"Effective action means action that can deal with the threat but that isn't going to make the situation worse," Rice said. "We want to develop a very effective strategy for dealing with this threat."

"Anything that would destabilize the north of Iraq is not going to be in Turkey's interests, neither in ours and Iraqis'," she said.

In addition, Rice indicated that Washington might follow Turkey's lead to impose sanctions targeting the PKK rebels.

"Specific means on how to deal with the PKK would be discussed between myself and ministers from Turkey and Iraq on the sidelines of the Iraq neighbors conference in Istanbul on Saturday", Rice was quoted as saying.

Rice arrived in the morning in Ankara, where she is expected to hold talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the PKK issue.

Rice's visit came amid increasing anti-U.S. sentiment in Turkey and public anger after a resolution passed by a U.S. congressional committee last month which labelled the killings of Armenians between 1915 to 1917 a genocide.

Following Ankara, Rice will go westwards to Turkey's largest city Istanbul, which will host a two-day foreign ministers' meeting on Iraq.

Erdogan is set to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington next week, and Rice's visit is supposed to smooth out problems before then, said the daily.

The upcoming Erdogan-Bush meeting is widely believed to be vital in determining whether Turkey will launch military incursion into northern Iraq or not.

Experts said that Rice's hands are tied, according to an earlier report run by local English-language daily Today's Zaman.

"I can't imagine what she is going to be able to do in terms ofpulling a rabbit out of the hat that would enable her to leave claiming that some progress had been made," Mark Parris, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, was quoted as saying.

Experts suggest Rice should start laying the foundation for dialogue between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey over the PKK issue, but Turkey has been refusing to talk to the Kurdish self-governing administration in northern Iraq, said the newspaper.

Turkey has threatened a military incursion into northern Iraq, while the U.S. has been pressing Turkey to refrain from such a campaign, which Washington fears could derail one of the few stable areas in Iraq and leave the U.S. in an awkward position.

Turkey has now massed up to 100,000 troops along the mountainous border with Iraq in preparations for a cross-border operation to crush about 3,000-strong PKK rebels, which was approved by the parliament earlier this month.

The PKK, listed by the U.S. and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the more than two decade conflict.

Turkish FM: Turkey-U.S. talks to be decisive of fight against PKK

ANKARA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said here on Thursday that the upcoming talks with the United States would be decisive in the fight against the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

"Recent visit by a high-level Iraqi delegation did not meet our expectations, we are running out of time, we want to talk about tangible matters and rapid steps from now on," Babacan was quoted as saying, adding that "Therefore, our talks, especially with the U. S. in the coming term, will be decisive." Full story

Turkish FM says cross-border operation on PKK not an invasion

ANKARA, Nov. 1 (Xinhua)-- Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Thursday that any incursion by Turkish military forces into northern Iraq would aim at the militants of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and their bases, and it "would not be an invasion."

Babacan made the remarks ahead of a meeting next Monday between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President George W. Bush, saying that Ankara "will determine the steps that Turkey would take."


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