Wednesday, October 24, 2007

U.S. urges restraint, Turkey conducts raids on PKK

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday urged restraint as Turkey conducted raids into northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels.

"We are concerned about the continuing skirmishes that are happening up there and the terrorist attacks that are being lodged by the PKK against the Turks," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.

"We continue to urge both sides to exercise restraint, the Iraqis and the Turks, in terms of escalating tension between the two countries because they agree that the common problem and the common enemy is the PKK, the terrorist organization," she said.

Turkish warplanes and troops attacked Kurdish rebels inside Iraq this week, and Turkey has moved troops to the mountainous border to keep up pressure on Baghdad to honor promises to crack down on rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) who use the region as a base.

While Turkish forces were being built up on the border, Ankara was holding back from any major strike for now saying it was still hoping for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The United States, concerned that a major incursion into northern Iraq by Turkey could destabilize Iraq's Kurdish region, is pressing Iraq to take action against the rebels.

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