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Turkish PM Accuses Iraqi Kurd Leader of Aiding and Abetting Terrorists

Turkish media reports say Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region, Massoud Barzani, of aiding Kurdish rebels who are fighting Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan is quoted as saying late Tuesday that Barzani is in a position of aiding and abetting the terrorists with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

The U.S. Defense Department Wednesday said it is providing Turkey with intelligence on Kurdish rebel positions along the border. A Pentagon spokesman said the key for any sort of military response from the Turks or anyone else is having actionable intelligence.

The spokesman says intelligence sharing has been going on for some time and he thinks there has been an increase in that sharing as a result of the current crisis.

The Turkish Cabinet was meeting Wednesday to discuss possible economic sanctions against Iraq's Kurdish region. Ankara accuses PKK rebels of launching attacks in southeastern Turkey from bases in northern Iraq.

In Baghdad Wednesday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the number of checkpoints in Iraq has been increased in an effort to cut the supply lines of the PKK. He also said his government is making intensive efforts to find eight Turkish soldiers kidnapped in a rebel ambush in southeastern Turkey last week.

Mr. Erdogan is to meet with President Bush at the White House November 5. U.S. officials say the talks will include joint efforts to counter the PKK.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be in Turkey this week for talks with Turkish leaders on the situation.

Tuesday, Turkish attack helicopters fired at suspected Kurdish rebel positions in a southeastern border region for a second day.

In the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, Kurdish leader Barzani said Tuesday that he is looking for a peaceful solution to the crisis, and that his regional government does not want to be part of the conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

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