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IRAQ WAR -
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Turkey calls for U.S. action against PKK

Posted in the database on Monday, August 01st, 2005 @ 15:56:31 MST (1229 views)
from The Daily Star  

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again warned he could take action against Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq if U.S. forces did not stop the rebels infiltrating across the border into Turkey. "At the moment, frankly speaking, we do not see the efforts by the U.S. that we expect to see. We have expressed our views to that effect to the Americans," Erdogan said in an interview yesterday with Britain's Times newspaper. "There is a time limit. There is a limit to our tolerance," said Erdogan.

He said Turkey was within its rights under international law to defend itself from attack and drew a comparison with U.S. action against Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"That mandate is provided for in international law,"he said.

"If a country, if a people, if a nation are under threat, that country can do what is necessary under international law ... we would exercise that right in the same way as any other country could, would and did exercise that right."

Turkey has blamed the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for a rash of violence in the southeast of the country and says the guerrillas use bases in northern Iraq as a launch pad for attacks.

In the latest act of Kurdish insurgency, Turkish officials said Kurdish guerrillas have kidnapped the mayor of a town in eastern Turkey .

Hasim Akyurek, mayor of Yayladere in the Bingol Province and a member of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party, was abducted Wednesday while on his way to inspect preparations for a local festival, the officials said.

The rebels stopped Akyurek, and a man traveling with him, said Bilge Eren, an official from the mayor's office.

The second man, Zulfu Coban, who was visiting from Germany, was released late at night and told Turkish security officials that they were kidnapped by members of the autonomy-seeking PKK, Eren said.

Turkish soldiers backed by helicopters were searching the area for the mayor, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Despite a lull in violence after the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, fighting has increased sharply since the group called off a unilateral cease-fire last year.

The PKK has waged an armed campaign for an independent Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey since 1984, and more than 30,000 people have been killed in the fighting.

Turkey has vowed never to negotiate with the PKK and together with the United States and the European Union brands the group as a "terrorist organization."



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