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SEMIH IDIZ

MILLIYET- When the `strategic vision document' between Turkey and the US was issued a few months ago, we said that the Turkish public would only be satisfied if the US takes concrete steps on the PKK issue. But our view was not welcomed by US officials, who said that the two countries' relations were multidimensional and didn`t depend on any one topic.

The US taking certain steps on the matter began after the murder of eight soldiers during a recent PKK attack and Turkey's remarks expressing an serious intent to launch an operation in northern Iraq. Those steps were not military but rather urging Kurds to close the PKK offices in the region.

Although those were big words, this situation was enough for the Turkish public to see the US' insensitivity on the matter. While allowing Israel to unconditionally launch operations in Gaza and Lebanon, opposing Turkey's conducting cross-border operation in northern Iraq is a clear example of the US' double standard.

Today we can see that the sides have failed to find a common point. For this reason Turkey's annoyance over the US' recent call to the PKK to lay down its arms was not so surprising. A decision to appoint a `PKK coordinator' on the matter has not increased but rather reduced Turkey's trust in the US.

Because both the idea of appointment of a coordinator and the call to the PKK to lay down arms its arms were seen as efforts to establish an indirect dialogue between the terrorist group and Turkey.

That`s where the main issue came in, because there are a number of Americans who believe in the need to somehow establish a dialogue between Turkey and the PKK or one of its sub-groups, similar to Britain and the IRA, or Spain and ETA.

More explicitly, when the PKK makes a statement that it`s laying down its arms and deciding to continue its fight on a political platform, they think that Ankara should sit at the table with the Kurds.

US officials' recent frequent remarks that resolving the PKK issue won`t come by crossing borders but rather in Turkey itself, and that such resolution could not come through military force alone, also prove our view.

The US has not yet understood that it was an unacceptable approach for Turkey -- especially when almost every day another one of our soldiers is killed. So the PKK issue is keeping its top priority in bilateral relations.

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