ANKARA, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- Turkish General Staff said on Friday that the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) suffered heavy loss in air strikes carried out by Turkish jets, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
"Turkish Armed Forces' air strikes on PKK targets in northern part of Iraq since Dec. 16 have created a serious pressure on the organization," said the report, quoting Gen. Metin Gurak, chairman of the Communication Department of the General Staff, adding that the region is no more a safe haven for PKK members.
PKK suffered heavy loss during the air strikes and increasing numbers of PKK members have fled from the organization, said Gurak.
Turkish military has taken all kinds of measures to prevent any civilian casualties in the strikes, he added.
Commenting on Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's statement and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's visit to Turkey, Gen. Gurak said that "we hope that Iraqi authorities could contribute to the fight against the PKK."
On Wednesday, Maliki visited Turkish capital of Ankara. The prime minister stressed that Iraq would continue fighting against terrorism.
Right before Maliki's visit, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that both Baghdad and the Kurdish administration were determined to end the presence of PKK in its north, adding that Kurdish parties in northern Iraq would soon convene to issue a joint appeal to the PKK to lay down its arms.
The Turkish forces take tougher actions against the PKK after the country's legislature extended on Oct. 8 the government's mandate to launch cross-border operations against the rebels in northern Iraq.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Some 40,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.