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Turkey Accuses Neighbors of Concealing Bird Flu Outbreaks

Turkey has accused several neighboring countries of concealing bird flu outbreaks and hampering an effort to stop the spread of the disease.

Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker told a news conference Friday Turkey has knowledge through unofficial sources that bird flu exists in what he described as "neighboring countries, which are ruled by closed regimes." He did not name the countries, but said their governments do not declare the existence of the disease.

Ankara has reported at least four deaths from the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Turkey's outbreak is centered in the east, bordering Syria, Iraq, Iran and Armenia.

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization has warned that the bird flu that has hit Turkey may already have arrived in neighboring countries. The FAO urged authorities in those nations to increase efforts to detect outbreaks.

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