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Erdogan, Bush to Meet at White House on Kurdish Border Crisis


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Bush are meeting at the White House Monday for talks on how to stop Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq from attacking Turkey.

After repeated Kurdish cross-border attacks, Turkey is threatening to send troops into northern Iraq, unless Iraqi and U.S. forces there take action against Kurdish guerrillas.

The United States has warned Turkey not to begin any military action that could destabilize northern Iraq. U.S. officials say the United States, Turkey and Iraq should work together to counter the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

On the eve of the Bush-Erdogan talks, the PKK released eight Turkish soldiers captured in a cross-border raid two weeks ago that killed 12 Turkish troops. The Kurdish regional government in Iraq says it pressured the rebels to release the soldiers.

A spokesman for U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice applauded the Iraqis' efforts to win the soldiers' freedom. Rice says the PKK is a common enemy of the United States, Turkey and Iraq, who consider the Kurdish fighters terrorists.

Sunday, Turkish state media reported that troops killed two PKK rebels in southeastern Turkey's Sirnak province, during a battle that also killed a security guard.

Thousands of ethnic Turks and Kurds held peaceful protests across Germany on Sunday in response to the recent fighting between Turkish forces and PKK rebels. Germany's interior minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble has warned that violence between Turks and Kurds in Germany will not be tolerated. Germany is home to more than two million people of Turkish origin, including about a half million ethnic Kurds.

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

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