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Turkish officials in Istanbul round up poultry for destruction (file photo) (epa)
20 January 2006 -- Turkey's agriculture minister has accused neighboring countries of covering up the presence of bird flu on their territories.
Speaking on 20 January, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker said that "it is unofficially known that this disease bird flu exists in countries that neighbor us that are ruled by closed regimes, but these countries are not announcing this because of [the nature of] their systems."
Eker did not name specific countries.
Turkey's neighbors include Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Iraq, and Syria. Syria quickly denied Eker's remarks.
The World Health Organization said on 19 January that the bird-flu situation in Turkey is improving.
Bird flu has killed four children in Turkey since December. Ankara has registered 21 other cases of bird-flu infections in humans.
(AFP, AP, dpa)