GeriGündem Turkish army chief says operation reached its target, more to come
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Turkish army chief says operation reached its target, more to come

Turkish Chief of General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit said on Monday the goal of the ground operation against the outlawed PKK separatists in the northern Iraq was a key base near Zap valley and they reached that goal, adding the operations could continue if needed.

"There will be operations when needed. We will continue. We will try to inflict heavier blows on the PKK", General Yasar Buyukanit told reporters in a briefing, the news agencies reported. "We gave them (the PKK) a lesson and we have more lessons to give", he said. 

Buyukanit said the military had achieved its goals in the campaign, killing at least 240 of around 300 PKK separatists they had targeted in the Zap valley. "However, according to our assessments, actual loss of terrorists are much more than this. Because this amount does not include the loss caused by Turkish Air Forces", he added.

Turkey pulled its troops out of northern Iraq on Friday, ending a major week-long ground offensive against the PKK separatists, a day after a U.S. Defence Minister's visit to Ankara and U.S. President called a quick end to the operation. This triggered a debate in Turkey whether the military pulled out of Iraq earlier than planned because of heavy pressure from the United States.

But Buyukanit denied such claims, saying if the U.S. influence on the decision to pull back is proved, then he will remove his uniform. This is a worthless attack against not only Turkish Armed Forces but also Republic of Turkey. This is disrespectfulness to the our soldiers' blood," he added. He also denied claims that the army had given up on plans to take Qandil Mountain, deeper into Iraq, because of U.S. pressure.          

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