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Turkey expected to stage cross-border operation against PKK after Ramadan: report

(Xinhua)

13:21, August 17, 2011

ANKARA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Facing intensified attacks by the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), Turkey has been mulling over conducting military operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Turkish Radikal daily said Tuesday.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday signaled new tactics in fight against the PKK when he said that Turkey is waiting for the end of the Ramadan to take new measure, adding "everything will be different after Ramadan."

Citing sources from the Prime Ministry, Radikal said Turkey plans to deal a lethal blow to the PKK with a comprehensive operation, which also includes cross-border operations into PKK camps in northern Iraq.

The sources said air operations could be conducted against PKK targets in the Kandil Mountains. According to Radikal, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) forces may shell the Kandil Mountains after talks with Iraqi and U.S. officials.

The Turkish military has carried out several air and land operations in the past against PKK targets based in the north of Iraq.

Last October, the parliament extended a government mandate to carry out military operations in Iraq. The motion was first passed in 2007 and has thrice been extended, in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The current resolution, which provides the legal basis for operations in northern Iraq, is to expire on Oct. 17, but the government is likely to ask for one-year extension.

Among the government's other strategies in the fight against the PKK is deploying police officers from special operations units to areas most at risk when it comes to PKK threats.

There are currently some 6,500 special operations police officers across the country and at least 500 of them will be immediately transferred to provinces such as Diyarbakir and Hakkari, where the PKK is active, Radikal reported.

Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the banned PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey. Some 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts involving the PKK in the past over two decades.

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