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Turkey Pounds Kurdish Rebel Positions; Iraq Seeks Diplomacy


Turkish warplanes and helicopters pounded Kurdish rebel positions inside northern Iraq Friday as senior Turkish and Iraqi officials meeting in Ankara tried to defuse growing tensions along their common border.

Turkey has threatened to launch a major military operation against rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who in recent weeks intensified attacks inside Turkey.

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly said Turkey will not tolerate any more PKK attacks, said Friday that it is unlikely to happen before his visit to Washington in early November.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Defense Ministry described the initial results of the talks in Ankara as "important." But Turkey's Foreign Ministry called proposals offered by the Iraqi delegation "unsatisfactory."

Turkish leaders also made it clear they want decisive action from Baghdad, not just promises to rein in the guerillas.

The top U.S. military commander in northern Iraq, Major General Benjamin Mixon, said his forces plan to do "absolutely nothing" to counter Kurdish rebels, after Turkey has said U.S. forces in Iraq should take action against PKK strongholds.

The European Union and the U.S. have urged Ankara to refrain from launching a military incursion into Iraq, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has urged Iraqi Kurdish leaders to crack down on PKK rebels.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30-thousand people have died in the conflict.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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