Turkish military says allies helping Kurdish rebels


Ankara : Turkey's military chief made a general accusation Thursday against some of the country's allies, saying they were providing assistance to Kurdish rebels in southeast Anatolia, the NTV television station reported.

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"Some of our allies support terrorism," Chief of General Staff Yasar Buyukyanit told a military symposium in Istanbul. "Those who give us human rights lessons are supporting it (terrorism)."

Buyukyanit did not name any countries in particular nor in what ways they may be helping the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Buyukyanit's comments come as Turkish media reports said there has been a build up of Turkish troops near the Iraqi border in possible preparation for a cross-border operation to wipe out PKK camps based in mountainous northern Iraq.

Public pressure for a cross border incursion has increased in Turkey especially after a suicide bomb attack in Ankara last week killed six people and injured up to 100. Authorities believe the PKK was behind the attack.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that if he received a written request from the military for an incursion into Iraq, his government would then take a decision.

On Thursday, however, Buyukyanit said he would not send any written request as the military's position on the matter was laid out last month when he stressed that an operation was necessary.

The Turkish military believes there are around 5,000 PKK guerrillas based in camps in northern Iraq from where they slip across the border into Turkey.

More than 32,000 people, mainly Kurdish civilians caught in the crossfire, have been killed since the PKK launched its fight for independence or autonomy in the early 1980s for the predominantly Kurdish populated southeast.