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Page last updated at 13:24 GMT, Friday, 14 August 2009 14:24 UK

Turkey PM aims to end PKK fight

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 2009 file pic
Mr Erdogan's comments came ahead of an expected PKK announcement

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country must deal with the problem of Kurdish rebels in Turkey's south-east.

He gave no details of how this could be done, but his government is seeking opposition support for a negotiated settlement to the insurgency.

His comments came ahead of an expected announcement of a roadmap to peace by the Kurdish separatist group, the PKK.

The banned group is marking the 25th anniversary of its fight for autonomy.

Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is expected to announce the group's future plans on Saturday - the anniversary of its first attack.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the 25-year conflict.

"Turkey has to face this problem," said Mr Erdogan on Friday, without elaborating.

Turkish warplanes have often targeted rebel hideouts in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, where Ankara says some 2,000 PKK guerrillas regularly stage hit-and-run attacks on Turkish territory.

Ankara this year urged Iraq's Kurdish regional government to expel the PKK from their territory, saying Iraqi authorities must promote efforts to curb the rebels.

Last November, Iraq, Turkey and the US formed a joint committee to assess and address the threat posed by the PKK fighters.



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