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Rice vows to take new effective actions to crack down on PKK rebels
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10:24, November 03, 2007

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 Rice: Effective action to be taken against PKK
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday said here that new effective action will be taken against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Rice made the remarks at a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan following her talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Babacan in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

Rice assured Turkish officials that PKK rebels based in northern Iraq were a "common threat", saying that the United States is "committed to redoubling its efforts" to help Turkey in its struggle against the PKK.

She said that "We consider this a common threat, not just to the interests of Turkey but to the interests of the United States as well..."

The U.S. top diplomat arrived in Ankara Friday morning, where she is also expected to hold talks with Turkish President AbdullahGul over the PKK issue.

For his part, Babacan stressed that Turkey wants to see action instead of words over the issue of PKK, Babacan said during the joint press conference.

"We have great expectations from the United States. We are at the point where words have been exhausted and where there is need for action," Babacan said.

Rice's visit came amid increasing anti-U.S. sentiment in Turkeyand 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, where to host a two-day foreign ministers' meeting on Iraq.

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

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

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.


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