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Turkey Insists on Right to Act in Northern Iraq


Turkish President Abdullah Gul says Turkey has the right and is ready to act in northern Iraq against rebel Kurds.

Mr. Gul spoke in Ankara a day after the Turkish military said it had inflicted significant losses on rebels in the border area.

The Turkish army said it targeted a group of 50 to 60 rebels inside northern Iraq, south of the Turkish town of Cukurca.

Kurdish regional officials in Iraq say Turkish forces did not cross the border and they rejected the Turkish account of casualties.

The Turkish army reported Sunday that its troops killed two Kurdish rebels during a separate clash Saturday in Turkey's Sirnak province, and two others in Siirt province.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that his cabinet had authorized the army to carry out operations into Iraq against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party.

Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said on Sunday that the Turkish armed forces will determine the necessity and timing of any cross-border action.

The United States and Iraq have urged Turkey not to send its forces into northern Iraq. They are concerned that could destabilize the relatively peaceful region.

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

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