No civilians in operation area: Turkish Minister

Turkish State Minister & Deputy PM Cemil Cicek said there are no civilians in the area where Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is currently staging a cross-border operation.

No civilians in operation area: Turkish Minister
"There are only terrorist camps there and some other facilities used by terrorists," he told reporters at the parliament.

Turkey has been waging a cross-border operation into north of Iraq since Thursday in order to neutralize members of the PKK stationed in the area and infrastructure belonging to them. TSK so far 'neutralized' 153 terrorists in the ongoing operations.

Cicek also underlined the attention Turkey pays to its relations with Iraq, and said Turkey did not intervene in the north of this country until it faced threats from there.

"When the PKK took shelter there and attacked Turkey, Turkey used its right to self-defense, stemming from international laws, in order to protect its own territorial integrity and life and security of its people," he told.

Cicek said Turkey will end its operations when it fully eliminates the threat and sends terrorists away from that area.

"What everybody should do is to support us," he also affirmed.

Cicek said Turkey waited for a long time and had diplomatic talks before it entered north of Iraq.

Cicek said Turkey is taking economic, social and cultural measures towards the region for the last five years. "Not because there is terrorism, but because this region needs these measures," he said.

Cicek also said Turkey is fighting against terrorist organization PKK in the north of Iraq, whereas top members of this organization are freely moving in EU member states.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Şubat 2008, 11:50