Chief of General Staff visits troops at Iraq and Iran border
VAN / HAKKARİ
Tight security measures were taken at the Şemdinli area where the top commanders traveled with helicopters. Şemdinli ies in the scarp mountainous region that borders both Iran and Iraq. DHA photoTurkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel made a visit April 30 to the southeastern province of Hakkari on the border with Iran and Iraq, together with the army's top commanders.
Özel's visit reportedly aimed to monitor the spring and summer preparation and organization of troops. He traveled to the border region to inspect the troops and meet the armed personnel, according the officials.
Özel first stopped at the province of Van, where he met local commanders and officials before moving on to the rural and mountainous Şemdinli area, neighboring both Iran and Iraq. He also visited the troops at the Iranian border in the Yüksekova district further north.
Land Forces Commander Hayri Kıvrıkoğlu, Air Forces Commander Mehmet Erten, Naval Forces Commander Murat Bilgel and Gendarmerie Forces Commander Bekir Kalyoncu accompanied Özel. Tight security measures were taken all along the borders for the duration of the visit.
The visit came a week after the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) announced that militants will start to withdraw to northern Iraq as of May 8. The Armed Forces has refuted claims that military forces were being reduced in a number of regions, related to PKK's pullout from the country. Deployments of military forces are reorganized every summer and winter due to the changing security measures, the army officials explained.