Tags: US | Turkey | rebels | vow

US Vows to Help Turkey Against Rebels

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 07:46 AM

NKARA — The United States supports Turkey's struggle against separatist Kurdish rebels and is ready to "urgently" consider any new request for help from Ankara, the US ambassador to Turkey said Monday.

"We stand ready to review urgently any new requests from the Turkish military or government regarding the PKK," Ambassador James Jeffrey said in a written statement.

He was referring to the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist group by both Ankara and Washington, which has dramatically stepped up violence in Turkey's southeast.

"The PKK is a common enemy of both Turkey and the US and we actively support the efforts of our Turkish allies to defeat this terrorist threat," Jeffrey said.

He stressed "there has been no change in the level of US-Turkey intelligence sharing regarding the PKK in northern Iraq."

The United States has been supplying Turkey, a NATO ally, with intelligence on rebel movements in northern Iraq, used particularly in Turkish air raids on PKK hideouts in the region.

Turkey's "no" vote on fresh UN sanctions against Iran and a simmering crisis with Israel has sparked concern in Turkey that the United States may withhold support in Ankara's struggle against the PKK.

Washington has said it was disappointed by Turkey's stance on Iran and expressed concern over the deteriorating Turkish-Israeli ties, which plunged into a full-blown crisis last month after Israeli forces killed nine Turks on a Gaza-bound aid ship.

PKK attacks at the weekend claimed the lives of 12 Turkish soldiers, most of them killed when rebels assaulted a border unit at the Iraqi frontier early Saturday.

There has been speculation that the US might have withheld intelligence on rebels moving towards the border, but Turkish army chief Ilker Basbug, speaking earlier Monday, played down suggestions of an intelligence failure.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

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NKARA — The United States supports Turkey's struggle against separatist Kurdish rebels and is ready to "urgently" consider any new request for help from Ankara, the US ambassador to Turkey said Monday.
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2010-46-22
Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 07:46 AM
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