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Turkish think tank expects ground operation against PKK in N Iraq
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21:00, February 21, 2008

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A Turkish think tank said on Thursday that a ground operation against the banned Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) in north of Iraq will take place with cooperation of the United States, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Sedat Laciner, president of International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), was quoted as saying that "There are currently discussions taking place between Turkish and U.S. officials on the land operation."

The Ankara-based USAK, established in 2004, is one of Turkey's think tanks.

"Contrary to what the Turkish public believe, the United Statesis not against the option of a land operation against PKK. The U.S. does not want a land operation without its participation," Laciner said.

"The topic of land operation has been extensively discussed between Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygunand Vice-Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James E.Cartwright," he added.

The U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Tuesday that his country is "continuing to work with the Turkish government and Turkish military to provide the best possible intelligence so that the terrorist group, PKK, operating in Iraqi territory can be dealt with."

The U.S. has said the PKK is a threat to Turkey, Iraq and the United States, and has voiced support for Turkey to launch attacks on PKK targets in northern Iraq.

The Turkish military has launched several cross-border attacks to fight separatist PKK rebels, who use northern Iraq as a launch pad for attacks against Turkey.

The PKK, listed by the United States and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast of the country. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the over-two-decade conflict.


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