Turkey refuses to set timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq
www.chinaview.cn 2008-02-27 21:10:52   Print

Special report: Turkey's incursion into Iraq

An undated handout picture provided by the Turkish Chief of General Staff army headquarters on Feb. 27, 2008, shows Turkish soldiers as they take a break during an operation against Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

An undated handout picture provided by the Turkish Chief of General Staff army headquarters on Feb. 27, 2008, shows Turkish soldiers as they take a break during an operation against Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
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    BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Turkish envoy to Baghdad said on Wednesday that his country will not set a timetable for the withdrawal of its troops fighting PKK fighters in northern Iraq.

    "Our mission in northern Iraq is clear and there will be no timetable for our troops to withdraw until those terrorist bases are eliminated," the Turkish envoy, Ahmet Davutoglu, told a news conference in Baghdad after talks with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd.

    Davutoglu, chief foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was due to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and U.S. top military commander in Iraq General David Petraeus.

    The Turkish envoy's visit to Baghdad came a day after the Iraqi government condemned the Turkish incursion in Iraq's Kurdistan region and demanded an immediate withdrawal of the Turkish troops from northern Iraq.

    In another development, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the Turkish operations should be limited to a week or two.

    "It is very important that the Turks make this operation as short as possible. I measure quick in terms of days, a week or two," Gates told reporters in New Delhi before leaving for scheduled visit to Ankara to meet Turkish officials on Thursday.

    Turkey said on last Friday that 10,000 of its troops were taking part in the cross-border offensive, which follows periodic air raids on suspected hideouts of the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) fighters in northern Iraq.

    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 over-two-decade conflict.

    The Turkish military was authorized last November to enter into northern Iraq to chase PKK members. But such a move has been rare as the U.S. - Turkey's major ally - is worried that a major incursion would destabilize the Kurdish region, which has been spared of the violence in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Editor: Du Guodong
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