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    Rice warns: Turkey should not intervene in northern Iraq

    Hürriyet Haber
    25.10.2007 - 11:31 | Son Güncelleme:

    US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Turkey in very strong terms not to intervene in northern Iraq, underscoring that the US will "do what is necessary" in terms of taking care of the PKK presence there.

    In statements made before the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rice commented "The past 72 hours have been very difficult. I spoke on Sunday with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and also with the Iraqi Kurds. As we have said before, there must be no place made for PKK terrorism to hurt Turkey. Both the Iraqis and the Turks need to make extraordinary efforts."

    Rice did not that in her talks with Prime Minister Erdogan, she had underscored that the US was taking the current situation extremely seriously.

    Rice also noted that while the US was working with Turkey and Iraq on certain shared precautions, the Baghdad administration had confirmed that it would be closing down known PKK bureaus in Iraq, and working generally to prevent the PKK from activity:
    "We have a series of precautions in mind. We believe that if followed, these precautions will allow control to be gained in this situation. There is a three-way mechanism that we have in place which includes Turkey, the US, and Iraq...."
    On the possibility that Turkey might infact decide to send military over the border into Iraq in pursuit of PKK forces, Rice said this:
    "The Turks should not engage in over the border intervention. We have warned that responding in this way will affect the stability of the region. We have encouraged everyone to find a solution to this terrorist problem in a way which will not undermine the stability of northern Iraq."

    On the question of the Armenian bill, which is expected to come up for a vote before the US House of Representatives soon, Rice told the Committee "We believe strongly that this bill must not move forward....This is a very sensitive period for Turkey. There are enormous changes taking place. We have very important strategic interests in Turkey."

    Rice noted that she had met with Armenian Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian this week, and that she had noted to him that Americans preferred to turn their faces towards the future rather than towards the past, and that the same stance was necessary for Turkey and Armenia.

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