All Turkish troops involved in a major ground offensive against Kurdish rebels inside northern Iraq have withdrawn to Turkey, Iraq's foreign minister said on Friday. Turkey sent thousands of troops into remote, mountainous northern Iraq on February 21 to crush rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.
United States President George Bush urged Nato ally Turkey on Thursday to end its offensive against Kurdish PKK rebels in northern Iraq quickly, but Washington said it would not threaten to withdraw intelligence help. The United States fears prolonging the Turkish operation, which began on February 21, will undermine stability in the region.
Turkish troops have crossed into northern Iraq in their hunt for Kurdish PKK guerrillas, the military said on Friday, but the United States and the European Union urged Ankara to keep the campaign limited. The White House said the US had been informed in advance of the incursion and urged Turkey to limit the operation to ''precise targeting'' of the PKK rebels.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan celebrated on Monday a decisive poll victory but now faces challenges over delayed presidential elections, Kurdish separatist violence and Ankara's troubled European Union bid. His AK Party boosted its share of the vote in Sunday's parliamentary elections to 46,5%