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 Turkey urges Germany to crack down on Kurdish PKK rebels 

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Turkey urges Germany to crack down on Kurdish PKK rebels  24.9.2010  

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September 24, 2010

ANKARA, Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay Friday called on Germany to crack down on separatist Kurdish rebels on its territory, handing his German colleague intelligence on activities Ankara wants curbed.

"We discussed... the fight against terrorism... I gave him a dossier on the information we have," Atalay told a joint press conference with his German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere.

Turkey has long accused European Union countries of tolerating the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group waging a 26-year campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey that is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the 27-nation bloc.

Ankara says the group has an extensive support base among Kurdish migrants in Europe who run non-governmental organizations sympathetic to the rebel campaign.                  

Turkey's Interior Minister Besir Atalay
It also argues that the PKK obtains much of its finances through drug trafficking, people smuggling, extortion and money laundering in Europe.

De Maiziere, on a two-day visit to Turkey, said his ministry would act upon the information handed by Turkey if need be.

"Our intelligence agencies will compare their own information with that given to us. We will see if there is new information and, if necessary, take action," he said.

He also added that Turkey and Germany had decided to establish a political committee for the "better coordination" of efforts in the fight against terrorism, be it PKK or the extremist al-Qaeda network.

The PKK was banned in Germany in 1993 in the wake of a spate of attacks against Turkish and German interests in the country.

Germany is home to a community of some 2.4 million Turkish immigrants, many of them ethnic Kurds.

Since 1984 the PKK [Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan] took up arms for greater rights and autonomy in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey [Turkey-Kurdistan] which has claimed around 45,000 lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK guerrillas.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

A large Turkey's Kurdish community estimate to 25 million openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.
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