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Turkish Military:  No Negotiations with Kurdish Rebels


Turkey's military has ruled out any negotiation with Kurdish rebels, but says it will back government efforts to expand the rights of the Kurdish minority.

In a statement posted Tuesday on the military's Web site, chief of staff General Ilker Basbug said the army will continue its fight against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. He also warned that the government should not make any moves that could divide Turkey along ethnic lines.

Turkey's military has battled rebel PKK fighters for 25 years, but government officials recently said they recognize that social and political change is necessary to end the conflict.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this month his government is ready to try what he called a "radical solution." He did not give specifics of the plan, but government officials are considering initiatives such as expanding Kurdish language education.

Mr. Erdogan also held a rare meeting with the head of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, in a bid to end the insurgency.

More than 30,000 people have been killed since the conflict began. The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

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