Turkey weighing land operation vs PKK in Iraq: TV

Turkey is considering a ground operation against PKK based in northern Iraq, private broadcaster CNN Turk quoted Foreign Minister Ali Babacan as saying on Tuesday.

Turkey weighing land operation vs PKK in Iraq: TV
"The option of a ground operation is on the table. The timing (of such an operation) and weather conditions are important," Babacan was quoted as saying.

Turkey has massed tens of thousands of troops along its mountainous frontier with Iraq. It has already carried out several small-scale cross-border commando operations as well as aerial bombing raids against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Earlier this month, Turkish warplanes bombed 70 PKK targets inside Iraq in one of the biggest raids to date and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan vowed to continue the cross-border campaign "until we win."

Traditionally, the Turkish armed forces step up operations against PKK militants inside Turkey in the springtime as the mountain snows melt.

On Monday, the English language daily Today's Zaman said the armed forces were planning to mount a land operation into northern Iraq in mid-March that would deal "a final strike" against the militants.

Turkey's current military campaign in northern Iraq took off after U.S. President George W. Bush agreed last November to start sharing detailed intelligence with Ankara on PKK movements inside Iraq.

Like Turkey, the United States and European Union also classify the PKK as a terrorist organisation, though Ankara has often accused its allies, especially in Europe, of failing to cooperate in fighting the organisation.

"We are cooperating with the United States in the fight against terrorism," Babacan was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Şubat 2008, 18:40