Turkey plans major winter operations against ISIL, PKK

Turkey plans major winter operations against ISIL, PKK

Turkey plans major winter operations against ISIL, PKK

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Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has vowed to continue military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) throughout the winter, while Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu has pledged to continue the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In a security summit on late Nov. 4, the prime minister ordered a continuation of military operations against the PKK “without interruption in winter conditions,” a written statement from Davutoğlu’s office said. 

Developments in Syria, cross-border operations against ISIL elements and a military campaign conducted with coalition forces were also discussed during the meeting, read the statement. 

Meanwhile, the foreign minister also expressed Turkey’s determination to cooperate in the fight against ISIL during a visit to Arbil on Nov. 4.

Turkey has “plans to act militarily against them in the coming days,” Sinirlioğlu said at a conference in Arbil, after a meeting with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani. “You will see. We should all stand together against this danger,” Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying. 

Sinirlioğlu did not specify if Ankara’s action would target ISIL militants in Turkey or in Syria. “The occupation of one third of Iraq, and also vast areas of Syria, by Daesh [ISIL] has undoubtedly created one of the most serious challenges,” he said.

“It has threatened our security and, although the Daesh advance has been checked with the support of the international effort which we are a part of, the threat is far from over,” he added.

“As before, Turkey stands together with Iraq and the KRG in the fight against [ISIL]. We are determined to continue our military and humanitarian assistance that has started from the very beginning of the crisis. As a country that has suffered immensely from terrorism for so many years and one that hosts more than 2 million refugees, no other country understands the undue burden that 1.7 million IDPs and refugees, as well as the war effort against [ISIL], creates on the KRG,” Sinirlioğlu said.  
“Rest assured that Turkey is steadfast in its support for Iraq and the KRG in the fight against terrorism. We will continue our assistance to ease the suffering of so many IDPs and refugees, who have become victims of a vicious terrorist organization,” he added. 

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson clarified a mistranslation in media reports on Nov. 5 and said Sinirlioğlu did not use the word “ground operation,” during his speech at the conference. 

Elaborating on Sinirlioğlu’s visit to northern Iraq during which he pledged support in fight against ISIL, the spokesperson said, “Turkey will take all necessary measures as required.”