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Iraq Warns Turkey on Kurdish Action

(AP) -- An Iraqi government spokesman on Thursday rejected Turkey's threat to attack a separatist Kurdish rebel group operating from bases in northern Iraq and warned such a move would be met with massive resistance.

Ali al-Dabbagh's comments followed last week's statement by the head of Turkey's military, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, that an operation into Iraq was necessary to stop raids into Turkey by the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.

'Iraq is a sovereign country and Turkey or any other country has no right to enter Iraq, but if this happens, it will be confronted by all sides in the Iraqi government, and the whole Iraqi people will confront the Turkish intervention,' al-Dabbagh told reporters.

Iraq's Kurds have also warned Turkey recently not to interfere in Iraq's affairs or face retaliation from the PKK.

Turkey is facing a growing threat in its own Kurdish region from the PKK guerrillas raids and has been intensifying pressure on Iraq and the United States to crack down on the Iraq-based rebels. Buyukanit said last week that the Turkish military was conducting several 'large scale' offensives against separatist rebels in the predominantly Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey.

Ali-Dabbagh claimed Thursday that his Shiite-led government had taken all necessary measures to curb the activities of the PKK and that a joint Iraqi-Turkish committee was responsible for following up on the situation.

'Iraq does not allow any group or organization to threaten the neighboring countries,' Al-Dabbagh said.

Al-Dabbagh is in Egypt ahead of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's first visit to Cairo on Sunday to meet with President Hosni Mubarak before an international conference on Iraq that will be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik May 3-4.


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