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U.S. denies supporting PKK rebels

July 1, 2008 at 8:29 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, July 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson denied media claims U.S. covert operation agencies worked with a Kurdish separatist group.

Seymour Hersh wrote in the latest edition of The New Yorker magazine that the CIA and Special Forces units within the U.S. military worked with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, to target Iranian interests.

"The Kurdish party, PJAK, which has also been reported to be covertly supported by the United States, has been operating against Iran from bases in northern Iraq for at least three years," he wrote.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Wilson said the United States does not work with either group as they are listed by the U.S. State Department as foreign terrorist organizations, Today's Zaman noted.

"The U.S. does not cooperate with PJAK. We have no relations with PJAK. We look at PJAK as a terrorist organization," he said.

PJAK and PKK militants operate in northern Iraq Kurdistan and along the border with Iran. The Turkish military launched a major offensive against PKK fighters in December using U.S.-supplied intelligence regarding rebel movements.

The issue of intelligence sharing sparked a dispute between Washington and Ankara when Turkish military officials revealed they had shared intelligence with Iran regarding PKK activity.

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