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Turkey Assesses Question of Kurds

As Turkish and American diplomats struggled this week to strike a deal on the use of American troops in northern Iraq, one of the most intractable hurdles for negotiators has proven to be Turkey’s bitter history with the Kurds. The long struggle between the two groups, which resulted in one of the region’s bloodiest insurgencies in the 1990’s, is figuring prominently in Turkey’s calculations over how to deal with the Bush administration’s request to use the country as a base for thousands of combat troops. In an interview tonight on Turkish television, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey’s governing party, said for the first time that the future of Iraq’s Kurdish area, which abuts a border region of Turkey also heavily populated by Kurds, was weighing heavily on the negotiations. “The case here is not as simple as bargaining over dollars,” Mr. Erdogan said. “We’re talking about the restructuring of the region. How the situation there is going to play out; we have to assess all of this.” Full Story

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