ANKARA (AA) - August 6, 2012 - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said armed forces would not stop cross border operations in Iraq's north until terrorist PKK organization cease to pose a security threat against Turkey.
"It should be known that as long as the region remains a source of threat for Turkey we will continue staging operations wherever it is needed. That was exactly the terms we had agreed upon with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who personally told me that he lacked power to deal with [terrorist PKK organization] in Iraq's north," Erdogan told a televised interview on Sunday, defying al-Maliki's criticisms that Turkey had violated Iraq's borders.
Erdogan said PKK terrorists used Iraq's northern mountains including Mount Qandil as a springboard for attacks inside Turkey, adding that a group of 200 PKK terrorists just recently attempted to infiltrate from across the Iraqi border.
Answering a question over possible response to similar PKK infiltration from Syria's north, Erdogan did not rule out that military operations might be held in Syria's north as well if PKK began to pose a threat toward Turkey from that region.
"One cannot rule that out. We have three brigades along the border currently conducting maneuvers there. And we cannot remain patient in the face of a mistake that can be made there," Erdogan said.
Regarding the Syrian conflict Erdogan said Syrian opposition fighters made significant progress against government forces in Aleppo, adding, "I believe the Assad regime draws to its end with each passing day."
Erdogan also said Iran's stance in supporting the Assad regime could not be accepted, adding that the Syria issue risked instability in the region.