HIGHLIGHTS - Turkey launches ground operation vs PKK in Northern Iraq

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HIGHLIGHTS - Turkey launches ground operation vs PKK in Northern Iraq
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Şubat 22, 2008 11:28

The ground operation started after Turkish warplanes and artillery bombed suspected PKK targets on Thursday, the military said on its Web site. The operation is expected to last 15 days, CNN Turk reported, citing security sources.

Haberin Devamı

-- TV channels and news agencies reported 10,000 troops were taking part in the cross-border offensive and the Turkish troops entered 10 km inside the Iraqi border. But CNN Turk reported 3,000 troops from special forces take part in the operation, citing security sources. Reports say the operation focused on the Hakurk region of northern Iraq.  

-- The operation is expected to last 15 days, CNN Turk reported, citing security sources.     

-- Iraq and the coalition forces based in the country said couple of hundred Turkish troops are taking part in the operation. Turkey's military has only sent several hundred troops into a remote part of northern Iraq to hunt PKK, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari told Reuters on Friday.  Only a "few hundred" Turkish soldiers are taking part in an operation against PKK in northern Iraq, a senior military officer with coalition forces based in Baghdad said.

Haberin Devamı
-- Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that the operation is against PKK, not the Iraqi people and will be "limited". Iraq's territorial integrity is very important for Turkey, Gul said in a statement.         

-- White House said ''Turkey should limit Iraq incursion to precise targeting of PKK'', Reuters reported. 

-- The Turkish General Staff released the photos of the operation on its official website. The photos can be viewed here. (The site is in Turkish)   

-- While cross-border operation of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the north of Iraq is under way, peshmergas were moved to Turkish border, Anatolian Agency reported. Sources said that many hide-outs of the terrorists were destroyed, while many peshmergas were moved to Zakho, Amediye, Sersing and Kanimasi regions on Turkey-Iraq border.

-- Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said this operation started a new phase in the efforts to isolate PKK. Erdogan repeated that the operation's sole target is PKK. "Iraqi people are not our targets" he said. Erdogan said on Friday he had spoken by telephone on Thursday night with U.S. President George W. Bush about Turkish troops' land offensive into northern Iraq.    

-- Oil prices headed back towards record highs Friday with New York crude nearing 99 dollars as the market reacted to Turkeys move into northern Iraq amid persistent concerns about supply, traders said.

-- Commanders in Ankara on alarm for the past 48 hours.

-- First confrontation with Peshmerge took place in Dohuk

-- Iran worried on Turkish operation in the northern Iraq


-- "After the successful bombing, a cross-border ground incursion backed by the Air Force started at 1900 (1700 GMT)."                      

Haberin Devamı

-- "Long-range weapons and Turkish Air Forces jets pounded targets between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on February 21st in order to neutralize members of the terrorist organization PKK/ KONGRA-GEL stationed in north of Iraq and to destroy organizational infrastructure in the region".

-- "Turkish Armed Forces, which paid significant attention to Iraq's territorial integrity and stability, will return to Turkey after it achieves the planned targets".


-- The White House said it had been notified that Turkish troops were to enter northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish outlawed separatists and urged Ankara to exercise restraint.

-- US military said they are aware that Turkish ground forces have entered Northern Iraq for operation of "limited duration". It also added that Turkey has given assurances that it will do "everything possible" to avoid civilian casualties in operation.

-- "The United States continues to support Turkeys right to defend itself from the terrorist activities of the PKK," rear Admiral Gregory Smith said in a statement sent to AFP.  

-- The United States "has encouraged Turkey to use all available means, to include diplomacy and close coordination with the government of Iraq, to ultimately resolve this issue." 


-- Turkish President Abdullah Gul called Iraqi President Jalal Talabani on the phone on Thursday and informed him about the cross-border ground operation launched by Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) against terrorist organization (in the north of Iraq). Presidency press center stated on Friday that Gul briefed Talabani about the target of ground operation which TSK initiated on Thursday.  

Haberin Devamı

-- Jabbar Yawar, a spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish security forces, said sporadic bombing was taking place in the border areas, but no casualties were reported.

-- Fouad Hussein, a spokesman for the semiautonomous Kurdish government, said the Kurdish Peshmerga forces had been put on alert.


--  The European Union on Friday repeated a call on Turkey to refrain from any disproportionate military action in northern Iraq.

-- Turkey's land offensive into northern Iraq to hunt down PKK is not the best way for Ankara to deal with its concerns about attacks, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Friday.

-- Germany warned Turkey Friday of the "risk of destabilisation" following its military incursion into Iraq and said it must act within international law.

-- Britain on Friday called for Turkey to withdraw its forces from northern Iraq, but at the same time condemned Kurdish outlawed separatists for mounting cross-border attacks.

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