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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 09:46 GMT 10:46 UK
Turkish general vows to rout PKK
New Turkish armed forces chief Gen Yasar Buyukanit
Gen Buyukanit was previously commander of Turkey's land forces
The new head of the Turkish army, Gen Yasar Buyukanit, has said that defeating Kurdish separatism is one of his main priorities.

Gen Buyukanit was speaking at a handover ceremony on Monday, where he succeeded Gen Hilmi Ozkok. It coincided with bomb blasts at two resorts.

He described the Kurdish rebels as "terrorists" who used democracy and human rights as a shield.

Gen Buyukanit also said Turkey was threatened by radical Islamism.

He holds strongly nationalist and secular views and is expected to advocate a tougher line against the growing Kurdish insurgency than his predecessor.

He [Gen Ralston] will also co-ordinate US efforts to counter the PKK and to eliminate the threat of the PKK operating out of northern Iraq
Ross Wilson
US ambassador to Turkey

As he was taking up his post three bomb attacks hit Turkey. Three people died in the southern resort of Antalya and dozens were injured.

Two of the attacks - in Istanbul and the coastal resort of Marmaris on Sunday - were claimed by a militant group called the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (Tak), linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Joint operations

The government in Ankara is under pressure to conduct a cross-border operation against PKK bases in northern Iraq, the BBC's Turkey analyst Pam O'Toole says.

The US Ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday that the United States, Turkey and Iraq had to deal with the problem of PKK militants together.

He said US Gen Joseph Ralston, especially appointed for this mission, would represent the Americans at tri-lateral talks.

"He will also co-ordinate US efforts to counter the PKK and to eliminate the threat of the PKK operating out of northern Iraq and across the border into Turkey," the ambassador said.


SEE ALSO
Country profile: Turkey
26 Jul 06 |  Country profiles

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