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Turkey Approves Sanctions on Kurdish Rebels and Rebel Supporters


A senior Turkish official says the Cabinet has approved economic sanctions against Kurdish rebels and their supporters.

The measures could affect members of the autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq. Ankara accuses rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, of launching attacks in southeastern Turkey from bases in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Department says it is providing Ankara with the kind of intelligence on Kurdish rebels that could enable the Turkish military to take action against them.

A Pentagon spokesman says the United States has been supplying actionable intelligence to Turkey, and has been providing "more and more" information as a result of recent developments.

He says part of the effort to help Turkey fight rebels involves an order to U.S. troops in Iraq to detain anyone on a list of the 10 most wanted PKK members.

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.

Separately, Turkish media reports say Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the leader of Iraq's Kurdish region, Masoud 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.

Mr. Erdogan is to meet with President Bush at the White House November fifth. 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.

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