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Turkey Accuses EU of Harboring Kurdish Terrorists


Turkey's prime minister has lashed out at European Union countries for not arresting Kurdish rebels and extraditing them to Turkey.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a nationally televised speech Saturday that no EU country had extradited members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, despite labeling the PKK as a terrorist group.

He did not name a specific country. Turkey says the rebels take refuge and raise money in Europe.

Turkey's military presence remained heavy in the Iraqi border area today, a day after diplomatic talks in Ankara aimed at defusing tensions there failed to produce any breakthroughs. On Friday, Turkish warplanes pounded suspected PKK rebel positions in northern Iraq.

Also Friday, Turkey's top military official said the country would wait until Prime Minister Erdogan meets with U.S. President George Bush on November 5 in Washington before deciding on any major cross-border offensive.

Meanwhile Saturday, more than one-thousand people took to the streets of the mainly Kurdish city of Sirnak in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border to protest the recent surge in PKK rebel violence in the region.

The PKK has been blamed for two recent attacks in Sirnak, one that killed 13 soldiers and another that killed 12 passengers on a minibus.

The European Union and the United States have urged Ankara to refrain from launching an incursion into Iraq.

The PKK has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. More than 30,000 people have died in the conflict.

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

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