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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU Urges Peaceful Solution to Turkey-Iraq Dispute

13 April 2007

The European Union has urged Turkey to peacefully resolve its differences with Iraq, following a call by Turkey's top general for a military incursion into Iraq to pursue Turkish Kurd rebels.

Krisztina Nagy, a spokeswoman for the EU's top executive body, the European Commission, Friday said the 27-member bloc is following the situation closely.

She said the EU recognizes the constructive role that Turkey plays in the region and hopes any differences Ankara has with Iraq will be dealt with in a peaceful and constructive manner.

On Thursday, Turkish General Yasar Buyukanit said operations against Turkish Kurd militants based in northern Iraq are a military necessity. He added, however, that he had not yet requested political authorization for any military action.

The United States also expressed concern about the general's remarks.

Turkey has recently intensified pressure on the Iraqi and U.S. governments to crack down on Turkish Kurd rebels operating in Iraq's largely autonomous northern region. And Turkey asserted its right to stage a cross-border offensive.

Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani has warned that Iraqi Kurds would retaliate against Turkey in Kurdish-majority cities if Ankara intervenes in northern Iraq.

Kurdish rebels in Turkey have been fighting for autonomy since 1984. The conflict has claimed more than 37,000 lives.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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