Turkey vows to achieve targets of cross-border operation against PKK
www.chinaview.cn 2008-02-23 04:32:44   Print

    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.

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.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is seen as he attends a meeting with U.S. Congressmen in Ankara, Feb. 22, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    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, February 21, 2008.(Xinhua Photo)

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 Iraq.(Xinhua Photo)
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    Erdogan 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 jets.

    "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 website.

    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 added.

    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 into Iraq

    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 Iraq

    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 reported.

    Turkish tanks from south-eastern province of Sirnak's Silopi town are heading for the north of Iraq in fighting against the PKK targets. Full story

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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