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Turkey Says It Is Focusing on Kurdish Rebels Within Its Borders


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is focused on fighting Kurdish rebels within its borders.

He spoke as speculation grows over whether Turkey will launch a cross-border military operation into Iraq against Kurdish militants.

Mr. Erdogan said Tuesday the 5,000 Kurdish rebels in Turkey have to be confronted.

Turkish officials say the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, is launching attacks from across the border in Iraq.

But the United States and Iraq have warned Turkey against crossing the border.

In another development today, a Kurdish news agency Firat quoted the PKK as offering a renewed ceasefire if the government stops its attacks on the group.

According to the report, the PKK promises not to carry out further attacks against the government other than for self-defense.

The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. The violence has killed more than 30,000 people.

The United States, Turkey and the European Union classify the PKK as a terrorist group.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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