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    President Gul: Turkey only targets terrorists in N. Iraq

    Hurriyet English
    04.05.2008 - 14:22 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkey has been fighting against the terrorist organization and only targeting terrorists without harming civillians, said Turkey's President Abdullah Gul on Sunday at a joint presser with Macedonian President Branko Crvenkovski in Skopje, Macedonia.

    "Turkey's targets are only terrorists, we are achieving our target without harming any civillians. Everyone sees that we are successful in these operations. Our determination (in fight against terrorism) continues." said Gul at a response to a question on the air operation conducted by Turkish Armed Forces to Mount Qandil in northern Iraq.

    Turkey conducted a U.S.-backed air operation on Mount Qandil in northern Iraq on May 1-2. According to initial estimates in a statement published on the Turkish army's official website, more than 150 terrorists were neutralized during the operation against the PKK bases in northern Iraq. The statement added that several high-ranking outlawed PKK separatists may have been among the dead.

    "The operation caused a big panic among terror organization's members," the statement read.

    The military said in an earlier statement, it successfully hit 43 outlawed PKK targets in a three-hour air operation on Mount Qandil in northern Iraq which ended early Friday.

    The military released on Friday video footage of the air operation. The link for the video can be found here. (Please note the website is in Turkish)

    Turkish warplanes have targeted terrorist positions in northern Iraq since mid-December. In February, the army conducted a week-long ground offensive against PKK hideouts in the region, where more than 2,000 militants take refuge.

    The Turkish government has a one-year parliamentary authorization, which expires in October, for cross-border raids against the PKK. The United States has backed Turkish military action against the outlawed PKK separatists by providing real-time intelligence on PKK movements in Iraq.

    The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, including the EU and the U.S.


     

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