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US Not Helping Turkey Counter Kurdish Rebels January 3, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.

ANKARA (AP)–The Turkish prime minister accused the U.S. Wednesday of not living up to a pledge to help counter autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels, despite the appointment of a special envoy to address the threat guerrillas pose to Turkey, a news report said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no action had been taken to expel the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, from its bases in northern Iraq or to cut off financial support to the rebel group, CNN-Turk television reported.

“We were expecting serious steps, but these did not materialize,” the station’s Web site quoted Erdogan as telling reporters during a flight to Lebanon.

The U.S., under increasing pressure from Turkey, in August appointed retired Gen. Joseph Ralston, a former North Atlantic Treaty Organization supreme allied commander, as its special envoy for countering the PKK.

The rebel group has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast since 1984 -a fight that has left some 37,000 dead. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the European Union.

Before Ralston’s appointment, Turkey had threatened to take action itself against the PKK in Iraq if the U.S. failed to address the problem.

The U.S. has warned Turkey against such action, fearing a Turkish incursion could alienate Iraqi Kurds – the most pro-U.S. group in the region.

Erdogan said Wednesday that PKK offices were still operating across the border, despite assurances from Iraq that they had been closed, CNN-Turk reported.

Turkey’s support to the U.S. wasn’t being reciprocated, Erdogan was quoted as saying.

“Give us support in the same way that we support you in your fight against terrorism,” CNN-Turk quoted Erdogan as saying.

The PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire, which came into effect on Oct. 1, following a surge of violence that left more than a dozen soldiers and policemen dead and injured tourists over a period of a few weeks. Turkey has ignored the truce, however, and has vowed to fight on until all rebels surrendered or were killed.


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