Turkish PM: Operation launched upon our directives

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "upon our directives, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched a cross-border ground operation against PKKin the north of Iraq under the mandate given by the Turkish parliament.''

Turkish PM: Operation launched upon our directives

AKP congress in Ankara on Sunday, Erdogan said TSK's nine-day operation was completed. He added that Turkish soldiers returned home on Friday morning.

Erdogan said AK Party rule had not received any orders from anybody regarding the operation. He added that fight against terrorism had not ended, it would continue. "We have staged an operation against terrorist camps and terrorists in the north of Iraq. Even a civilian was not targeted, wounded or killed there," he added.

Thousands of Turkish troops, backed by warplanes and attack helicopters, had crossed border February 21 to root out PKK militants and destroy their numerous bases. But Turkey ended this ground operation against PKK in Northern Iraq unexpectedly on Friday, just a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates' brief trip to Ankara and Bush's call called for a short and carefully targeted operation.

Condemnation of Gaza strikes

Regarding the recent situation in Gaza, Erdogan said it was impossible to approve the inhumane implementation in Gaza. He noted that children and civilians were being killed due to disproportionate use of force in Gaza. Erdogan said the Republic of Turkey clearly condemned such an attitude of Israel.

Since the dramatic escalation in violence on that day, 116 Palestinians, including 22 children and dozens of fighters, have been killed, according to Gaza health ministry statistics.

More than 350 were wounded. Two Israeli soldiers were also killed in the clashes and one Israeli civilian died in a rocket attack.

Hürriyet

Last Mod: 03 Mart 2008, 18:24
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