PKK Says Turkish Strikes Coming Up Empty

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 1:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party says Turkey's latest offensive is having little impact.

PKK Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Ahmet Deniz tells VOA Turkish airstrikes failed to inflict any casualties on PKK forces in northern Iraq. He said the strikes destroyed only one home and damaged a power distribution unit.

The PKK's response Thursday follows confirmation from the Turkish military that it launched artillery strikes and sent its warplanes across the border with Iraq late Wednesday as part of an attack on 60 PKK targets. The military said it would continue such operations until the PKK is “rendered ineffective” but that it was showing “necessary sensitivity” to avoid harming civilians.

The raids on the Kandil and Zap regions, among others, mark Turkey's first cross-border offensive in one year. Iraqi government officials Thursday objected to the raid as a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkey launched the strikes after PKK rebels ambushed a military convoy in Turkey, killing at least eight Turkish soldiers near the border with Iraq.

Turkey's National Security Council was scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss the situation.

The renewed violence comes just days after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's “patience is running out” with the rebels, who have waged a campaign for autonomy in the country's largely Kurdish southeast since 1984. The conflict has killed more than 40,000 people.

Since calling off a cease-fire in February, the PKK has adopted what it calls an “active defense” stance, which allows its fighters to defend themselves if they feel threatened.

The U.S. Embassy in Ankara expressed condolences for the soldiers killed Wednesday and said the United States stands with Turkey in its fight against the PKK.

Turkey, the United States, and the European Union consider the PKK a terrorist group.