9/28/2005

Turkish Women Blast Karen Hughes With Iraq War Criticism

ISTANBUL, Sept. 28 -- A group of Turkish female activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes Wednesday with heated complaints about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of the anger at U.S. policy in the region...

"In every photograph that comes from Iraq there is that look of fear in the eyes of women and children. . . . This needs to be resolved as soon as possible."

Turkey, a member of NATO, has long been a close ally of the United States, but relations have soured during the Bush administration, especially after the Turkish parliament blocked a request to allow U.S. troops to stage an invasion of northern Iraq via Turkey. National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley visited Ankara last week as part of a new effort by the White House to mend ties.

The Turkish public has also become rattled by an increase in attacks by the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party, a Kurdish militant group operating out of northern Iraq, amid accusations that the United States has not done enough to rein in the group.

Nurdan Bernard, a journalist participating in the panel, raised concerns about the PKK, prompting Hughes to respond that it was "somewhat an irony." She added: "Sometimes you have to engage in combat in order to confront terrorists who want to kill you."

Hughes later flew to Istanbul for meetings with religious leaders -- part of an effort to promote interfaith dialogue -- and with Turks who have participated in U.S. exchange programs. She returns to Washington Thursday.

Turkish Women Blast Karen Hughes With Iraq War Criticism

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