Turkish warplanes hit PKK targets in Iraq
Istanbul, August 18, 2011
Turkish warplanes struck 60 Kurdish guerrilla targets in northern Iraq overnight, military headquarters said in a statement on Thursday, in apparent retaliation for a rebel attack on Turkish forces.
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.
"The Turkish Air Force conducted a successful attack operation on 60 targets of the separatist terrorist group in the Kandil Mountain, Hakurk, Avasin-Basyan, Zap and Metina regions," the General Staff statement said.
All planes returned safely to their bases. The "necessary sensitivity" was shown to avoid the civilian population being affected and such operations would continue until the PKK was "rendered ineffective", it said.
The warplanes struck the mountainous northern Iraq region in two waves overnight, security sources told Reuters.
In the second raid, six F-16 jets took off around 2:45 am (2345 GMT) from a base in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, heading for northern Iraq, where several thousand PKK rebels are based and from where they launch attacks on Turkey.
The targets included anti-aircraft defences and rebel shelters in the region and around 30 planes took part in the entire operation, the sources said. Camps housing the PKK's top commanders were among those targeted.
President Abdullah Gul will chair a previously scheduled National Security Council meeting on Thursday, with a recent upsurge in PKK attacks and the military response likely to top the agenda.
More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Kurdish separatist conflict since the PKK took up arms for Kurdish self-rule in 1984.- Reuters