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Monday, July 19, 1999 Published at 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK

World: Middle East

Turkey denies Iran 'airstrike'

The Turkish army and airforce often attack Kurdish targets outside Turkey

Turkey has denied Iranian accusations that its aircraft bombed targets within Iran.

Turkish Defence Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu said the country's air force had not violated Iranian airspace.

[ image: Iran's Foreign Minister Kharrazi summoned the Turkish charge d'affairs]
Iran's Foreign Minister Kharrazi summoned the Turkish charge d'affairs
Iran has demanded an apology and compensation for what it has called a Turkish air attack on an Iranian military outpost and surrounding villages.

Earlier, Iran's Foreign Ministry had demanded a meeting with the Turkish charge d'affairs in Tehran, Avkut Sezgin, according to the official news agency IRNA.

Tehran says five people were killed and 10 were injured in Sunday's raid, near the town of Piranshahr.

The Iranian foreign ministry called the attack a "violation of Iranian air space".

According to Iranian media reports, Turkish warplanes attacked a base of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards in the border between Iran and Iraq region where Kurdish rebels have been active.

IRNA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying that Iran "reserved every right to take necessary steps ... and considered the Turkish government responsible for the consequences of the aggression".

The Turkish Government has in the past repeatedly accused Iran of sheltering PKK guerrillas, an allegation denied by Tehran.

Correspondents say the Turkish army carries out regular strikes against Kurdish separatists on Iranian territory.

Reports in the Turkish media have claimed that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) recently relocated some of its bases and training camps from northern Iraq to Iran.

The last major incident of a similar kind came in 1996 when Turkish warplanes bombed a site in Iran.

Turkey apologised for the attack, saying it was seeking Kurdish rebels.

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