Turkish warplanes hit 60 PKK targets in Iraq: Army

Turkey`s military has vowed to press ahead with strikes until the rebels are rendered ineffective.

Updated: Aug 18, 2011, 13:25 PM IST

Istanbul: Turkish warplanes struck 60 Kurdish guerrilla targets in a "successful" operation in northern Iraq overnight, military headquarters said in a statement on Thursday.

It said Turkish artillery hit 168 targets in the region before the air operation, which was conducted after Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants ambushed a military convoy in southeast Turkey killing 12 security personnel.

Turkey`s military has vowed to press ahead with strikes until the rebels are "rendered ineffective”.

The military said that Turkish warplanes had hit 60 targets in areas close to the Turkish border and on Mt Qandil — on the Iraqi-Iranian border — in raids late Wednesday.

The military said the warplanes targeted Kurdish rebel bases only and showed "the necessary" sensitivity not to harm civilians.
More than 30 Turkish soldiers have died in intensified rebel attacks since July, including one that killed 13 service members in July, leading to a major military offensive in southeastern Turkey.

Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey is at the end of its tether and hinted toward a strong offensive after the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

But Wednesday`s attack appears to have forced Turkey to bring plans forward.

Asked earlier Wednesday about the possibility of a cross-border offensive, Erdogan replied: "These things are not talked about they are done."

Turkey has frequently launched air strikes or sent soldiers across the border to fight the rebels.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States stands with Turkey in its fight against the PKK.
"We support Turkey in its fight against terror, and we will continue to work with the government of Turkey to combat terrorism in all forms," Nuland said.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union, is fighting for autonomy in southeast Turkey. The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984.

Bureau Report