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US Newspaper Says Turkey to Invest $12 Billion to Help Kurds


A major U.S. newspaper is reporting that Turkey plans to invest up to $12 billion in its mainly Kurdish southeast region in hopes of hurting support for Kurdish rebels.

In an interview with the New York Times, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the program is intended to create jobs and draw young men away from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

Mr. Erdogan also said Turkey's government will dedicate a state television channel to Kurdish language broadcasting, a measure long sought by Turkey's Kurdish minority.

The Times quotes him as saying the fight against terrorism calls for military action but also has a "socio-economic, a psychological and a cultural part."

PKK rebels have been fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey since 1984. The violence has killed more than 30,000 people.

Last month, Turkey carried out a week-long assault against PKK rebels in northern Iraq's mountainous region. Turkey accuses PKK militants of using suspected strongholds in the region to launch attacks against government troops in Turkey.

Turkey, the United States and the European Union classify the PKK as a terrorist group.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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