Number of PKK militants killed in Turkey's operation rises to 153 (UPDATED)

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Number of PKK militants killed in Turkeys operation rises to 153 (UPDATED)
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Şubat 25, 2008 10:21

41 more PKK terrorists were killed in Turkey's ground operation on Monday and Turkish troops entered 25 kilometres inside the Iraqi border, DHA reported. Pro-Kurdish party DTP urged Turkey to end the operation.

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Dogan News Agency (DHA) reported 41 more PKK militants were killed during Monday's clashes, taking the total number of PKK members killed since the operation started to 153. Turkish troops entered 25 kilometres inside the Iraqi border, DHA added. Turkish troops fired more than 40 salvos of artillery shells across the Iraqi border, AP reported. The sound of the artillery fire from distance could be heard in this border town. Several military bases which support the ongoing incursion into Iraq are located on the outskirts of this town and artillery units have been positioned on hilltops overlooking Iraq.                        

Turkish General Staff said on Sunday 33 terrorists, excluding those "neutralized" under fire of long-ranged weapons and planes, were killed yesterday's clashes as it was reported the artillery shells across the Iraqi border on Monday. With yesterday's clashes total number of PKK militants killed during the gorund operation launched on Thursday rose to 112, according to the Turkish General Staff's official statements.

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In a statement posted on its Web site, the General Staff said eight personnel of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) died during Sunday's operation. General Staff said cross border operations against PKK continued in the north of Iraq with intervals. "Planes belonging to Turkish Air Forces destroyed 63 targets, which were determined to include terrorists," the statement said.

Turkish General Staff also confirmed that a helicopter was crashed down due to "an unknown reason". Turkey’s military said technicians were inspecting the wreck to determine why the helicopter crashed near the border PKK has said on Sunday it shot down a Turkish helicopter.

Thousands of people rallied in the southeastern city Diyarbakir against Turkey's ground operation in the northern Iraq. The pro-Kurdish party DTP, who organized the rally, made a statement calling Turkey to end the operation.                                                                           

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"OPERATION SUCCESSFUL"                                                 

Turkish government spokesman, State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said Monday the ground operation of the Turkish Armed Forces in north of Iraq should not be evaluated in various ways. "Our ground operation targets only terrorist organization PKK," Cicek told a press conference following Monday's Council of Ministers meeting. "We reiterate once again that the ground operation is only against PKK and, once this operation reaches its goal, our troops will return to Turkey," Cicek underlined. "The Turkish Armed Forces continue the ground operation successfully and we are very proud of them. As the government and nation of Turkey, we are on the side of the Turkish Armed Forces," Cicek also said.             

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In Baghdad Iraq voiced concern that a prolonged Turkish incursion into northern Iraq could trigger clashes between Turkish troops and Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga security forces, the country's national security adviser said on Monday. Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said such fighting could have "very serious consequences" for a part of Iraq that has been relatively stable compared with the rest of the country. "The ... longer Turkish soldiers stay inside Iraqi territory, the more likely this is going to happen," Rubaie told reporters in Baghdad when asked if he was concerned about clashes between Turkish and Peshmerga forces breaking out. "We need to avoid this at any cost. This has very serious consequences even if this happens by accident."                         

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A Kurdish security official told Reuters Turkish troops and PKK militants clashed during the night in the Amadiya area, 10 km (6 miles) south of the border, but added he did not know if there had been any fighting on Monday. He said the Turkish military shelled PKK targets on Monday, after launching several air strikes overnight.


Turkish President Abdullah Gul had postponed a planned trip to Africa this week due to the ground offensive, Turkey's state Anatolian news agency said. Gul had been due to leave on Tuesday on a tour of Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congo Republic. Earlier on Monday, Gul paid an unexpected visit to the headquarters of the military General Staff in Ankara and received a briefing on the offensive.







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