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Turkey vows to “fight against terrorism in all areas”

Turkish government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said Wednesday that Turkey will “fight against terrorism in all areas” as the country was still weighing a cross-border operation to fight the separatist Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Cicek made the remarks after the weekly Council of Ministers meeting, saying, “in regard to the fight against terror, military, political, diplomatic and economic efforts are being made.” “We want to stress that our steps in the fight against terror only target the terrorist organization as well as supporters and helpers of the terrorist organization,” said Cicek. “We all know that terror is a crime against humanity according to the international laws and norms. Turkey’s military, political and diplomatic steps against terror are based on international laws,” added Cicek.

Turkey has said it was making efforts through all diplomatic channels to force the Iraqi government and the United States to crack down on PKK camps in northern Iraq and now it considers across-border military operation. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit Washington on Nov. 5 for a meeting with US President George W. Bush, which is widely believed to be vital in determining whether Turkey will launch military incursion into northern Iraq or not. Turkey has now massed up to 100,000 troops along the mountainous border with Iraq in preparations for a cross-border operation to crush about 3,000-strong PKK rebels, which was approved by the parliament earlier this month.

The PKK, listed by the US and Turkey as a terrorist group, took up arms against Turkey in 1984 with the aim of creating an ethnic homeland in the southeast. More than 30,000 people have been killed in the more than two decade conflict. (