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 Turkish jets bomb 60 Kurdish PKK rebel targets in Iraqi Kurdistan 

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Turkish jets bomb 60 Kurdish PKK rebel targets in Iraqi Kurdistan  18.8.2011    

August 18, 2011

ANKARA, — Turkish jets bombed 60 targets in Iraqi Kurdistan region used as bases by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) following an ambush by the rebel group that killed nine troops, the military said Thursday.

A PKK spokesman, reporting no casualties, said the air strikes in northern Iraq, the first since late 2010, carried on through Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Turkey's air force launched a "successful" operation against 60 targets in the Qandil and Hakurk regions late Wednesday, said the General Staff in a statement posted on its website.       

Turkish warplanes bombed PKK rebels bases in Iraqi Kurdistan region.
The aircraft involved all returned safely to bases in Turkey, it added.

Some 168 targets in the Qandil region were under intense artillery fire before the military operation began, the military said.

Dozdar Hammo, the PKK spokesman, said the jets also bombed rebel bases in the Qandil and Khanairah areas of north Iraq near the Turkish border for about an hour from around 8:00 am (0500 GMT) on Thursday.

Hammo said no casualties were reported from the latest strikes or the raids on Wednesday night, which he said lasted for about two hours starting at 9:00 pm (1800 GMT).

The Turkish military said its operations at home and in the north of Iraq, used as a safe haven by the PKK, "will continue until it is eradicated."

The strikes came hours after the deadly attack on Wednesday in the town of Cukurca in the southeast of the country claimed by the PKK.

On June 16, the PKK killed 13 soldiers in Diyarbakir, another Kurdish southeastern province.

Since it was established in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country,www.ekurd.netsparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.  

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