Turkey sends thousands of troops into northern Iraq
Friday, February 22, 2008
Reports say that Turkey has sent at least 10,000 troops into northern Iraq in an attempt to take down terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and their bases of operations. Reports also say that thousands more Turkish troops are prepared to enter Iraq if needed.
"The Turkish Armed Forces, which attach great importance to Iraq's territorial integrity and stability, will return home in the shortest time possible after its goals have been achieved," said a statement posted on the Turkish military's website.
The United States military in Iraq is "aware" that Turkish troops have begun to enter the country and Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman states that "Turkey has given its assurances it will do everything possible to avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians or Kurdish infrastructure."
"The United States continues to support Turkey's right to defend itself from the terrorist activities of the PKK and has encouraged Turkey to use all available means, to include diplomacy and close coordination with the Government of Iraq to ultimately resolve this issue," stated Smith.
On Thursday February 21, Turkish troops began to take out buildings in abandoned villages believed to be hideouts for militants of the PKK.