TURKEY RESPONDS TO CONCERNS ON KURDISH UNREST

Pledging to work through the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, Turkey said Wednesday it would respond formally to Austrian concern over its handling of Kurdish separatist unrest.

"It is the right of every country to operate the human dimension mechanism of the CSCE [Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe]. We shall reply to the Austrian memorandum in accordance with CSCE terms," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Filiz Dincmen told a news briefing. "We remind [Austria] of the CSCE terms calling for cooperation against terrorism."

More than 100 people have been killed in Kurdish unrest in Turkey since the Kurdish New Year of Nowrouz on March 21 when Turkish forces clashed with civilians and separatist rebels. CSCE guidelines require Ankara to respond within 10 days to Vienna's request for information. About 3,400 people have been killed since 1984 when the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party launched its separatist fight in southeast Turkey.

The United States on Tuesday slightly toughened its line on Turkey for attacking Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq, warning Ankara it must not let the fight against terrorism trample the human rights of other citizens.

"We've told the Turks that the fight against terrorism cannot be allowed to abrogate its responsibilities to protect the human rights of all its citizens," a US State Department spokesman told reporters.

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