ANKARA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Friday that the cross-border operation launched by the armed forces TSK must achieved its targets to strike the hide-outs of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) based in the north of Iraq.
"The TSK will rapidly return to Turkey as soon as it
reaches its aims," which is the sole target of operations, Erdogan said.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
is seen as he attends a meeting with U.S. Congressmen in Ankara, Feb. 22,
The Turkish premier made the promise as the United
States urged Ankara Friday to conclude its military operations in Iraq's north
in the shortest time possible.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said
the U.S. had advised Turkey to end the operation as soon as possible and to keep
it limited with the targets of the terrorist organization PKK.
The operation is planned and executed by the Turkish
government, and our intention is to stay out of it and bring Turkish and Iraqi
governments together, McCormack said.
Turkish tanks move near the southeastern
Turkish town of Silopi, near the Iraqi border, Feb. 21, 2008. Turkish
Armed Forces (TSK) has launched a cross-border ground operation in fight
against the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in the north of
explained that he had talked with U.S. President George W. Bush as well as Iraqi
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki regarding the cross-border operation.
"We have never been on a negative posture against the
Iraqi people and we will not be," he said, adding "I wish this operation yield
positive results both for Turkey, the Iraqi people and the regional peace."
The target, scope, limits and aims of this operation
are obvious, Erdogan stressed.
The Turkish military General Staff announced in a
statement on Friday that the government armed forces TSK launched a cross-border
ground operation into north of Iraq as of 1900 p.m. (1700GMT) on Thursday
following this successful artillery bombardment, which was backed by air forces
"Long-range weapons and Turkish Air Forces jets
pounded targets between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Feb. 21 in order to neutralize
members of the PKK stationed in north of Iraq and to destroy organizational
infrastructure in the region," said the statement posted on the General Staff's
Erdogan hailed the operation as the start of a new
stage in the struggle to isolate terrorist organization PKK which attacks on
Turkey's unity and integrity.
The government is exerting great efforts to fully
isolate terrorist organization as well as to cut its social, logistic, financial
and psychological support, he vowed.
Meanwhile, Erdogan indicated that Turkey is one of
the leading countries which support Iraq's territorial integrity, national
unity, peace and stability.
Also on Friday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul
stressed in a statement that the armed forces exerted maximum effort to prevent
innocent civilians from being hurt in the ground operation it staged to hunt
down PKK rebels in northern Iraq.
Gul said "we have always welcomed and extended a
helping hand to Iraqi people at their hard times and they are a friend and
relative of Turkey."
Underlining that Turkey has always attached great
importance to Iraq's national unity and territorial integrity, Gul expressed
"sincere belief" that the operation would contribute to stability in Iraq and
peace of the region's people.
Turkey's two largest parliamentary opposition parties
on Friday voiced their supports for government troops' cross-border ground
operation against PKK based in northern Iraq.
Just hours after the military announced it had sent
troops over the border into Iraq, Deniz Baykal, the leader of the center-left
Republican People's Party (CHP), hailed that the ground attack took the fight
against the PKK to a new and important stage.
It was essential for Turkey to take the operation to
eliminates the PKK and its bases in northern Iraq, Baykal stressed.
Meanwhile, Devlet Bahceli, the chairman of the far
right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said that not only was the operation
necessary but there was also the need to temporarily deploy Turkish troops
inside Iraq to create a security zone in Iraq's north.
"Although it is a belated move, this first ground
operation under the rule of Justice and Development Party constitutes a very
important step and it is deduced from recent statements on the issue that
operation would be limited in duration and scope," Bahceli said.
Sedat Laciner, president of International Strategic
Research Organization (USAK), one of Turkey's think tanks, said on Thursday that
a ground operation against the PKK in north of Iraq would take place with
cooperation of the United States.
"There are currently discussions taking place between
Turkish and U.S. officials on the land operation," he said, adding "contrary to
what the Turkish public believe, the United States is not against the option of
a land operation against PKK. The United States does not want a land operation
without its participation."
"The topic of land operation has been extensively
discussed between Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun and
Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E. Cartwright," he
Turkish National Security Council said Thursday that
cross-border operations against the PKK would continue as long as necessary.
The Turkish military was authorized last November to
enter into northern Iraq to purse PKK members.
The PKK, listed by the United States and Turkey as a
terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an
ethnic homeland in the southeast of the country. More than 30,000 people have
been killed in the two-decade conflict.
U.S. urges Turkey to limit operations in N Iraq
WASHINGTON, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- The United States said Friday it is urging Turkey to limit its operations in northern Iraq to precise targeting of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
"We were notified and we urged the Turkish government to limit their operations to precise targeting of the PKK, to limit the scope and duration of their operations," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. Full story
Turkish army launches ground incursion
ANKARA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has
launched a cross-border ground operation in fight against the banned Kurdish
Workers' Party (PKK) in the north of Iraq.
This is the first cross-border ground operation of Turkey
since the Turkish government gave the authority for the army to launch
cross-border ground operations in fight against the PKK militants in the north
of Iraq last November. Full story
Turkish jets take off from military
airport in SE Turkey
ANKARA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkish jets took off
from a military airport in southeastern province of Diyarbakir and headed to
Turkish-Iraqi border on Friday, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
The Turkish jets and helicopters are flying across
the border on a reconnaissance mission, according to the report. Full Story
Tanks of Turkish army head for N
ANKARA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Tanks of the Turkish
Armed Forces are continuing heading to Iraq at southeastern Habur border
Fridayas part of the ground operation launched against the banned Kurdish
Workers' Party (PKK) in north of Iraq, the semi-official Anatolia news agency
Turkish tanks from south-eastern province of Sirnak's
Silopi town are heading for the north of Iraq in fighting against the PKK