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Erdogan Says Turks, Kurds Should Remain United

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (epa) October 28, 2007 -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today called for unity between Turks and Turkish Kurds, and reiterated his government's determination to fight Iraq-based separatist Kurdish rebels.

Erdogan said as long as people were bound together, the "treacherous" terrorist attacks would never reach their goal.

Erdogan's comments mark the October 29 celebration of the 84th anniversary of the Turkish republic. He vowed the fight against separatism would go on with determination.

Turkey has deployed roughly 100,000 troops near its border with Kurdish-administered northern Iraq -- to demonstrate its determination to force Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants out of strongholds on the other side.

Ankara has repeatedly said it wants a diplomatic solution to a crisis which has seen scores of Turkish troops killed in cross-border raids by PKK forces.

The U.S. government, which lists the PKK as a terrorist organization, is also putting pressure on the Iraqi Kurds to push the PKK out.

Turkish attack helicopters buzzed over a hilly region in southeastern Turkey today in search of Kurdish rebels, after troops reportedly killed 15 separatist guerrillas in a morning operation.

The fighting occurred in the predominantly Kurdish province of Tunceli, far from the border with Iraq, where most recent clashes have broken out.

In another development, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reports that an explosion hit an anti-PKK demonstration in northwestern Turkey today. The agency said bomb experts were investigating but the cause of the blast remained unclear.

Erdogan on October 27 criticized European for not doing enough to crack down on the PKK, saying European Union members are not arresting or extraditing PKK members despite the EU having officially labeled the group a terrorist organization.

(compiled from wire reports)

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