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Turkey says awaiting right time to strike Kurdish rebels in Iraq’s Qandil

A file photo showing Turkish soldiers on patrol. (Reuters)

ISTANBUL ( – The Turkish interior minister stressed that his country is awaiting the right time to carry out a military operation in northern Iraq’s Qandil region to eliminate high-ranking members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

PKK militants are frequently carrying out attacks against Turkey from their camps in the Qandil mountains, a remote region of Kurdish-run northern Iraq.

“Qandil is not a distant target for us any more. Right now, a lot of positions have been seized there (by Turkish forces), especially in the northern Iraq region,” Suleyman Soylu told the Anadolu state news agency in a televised interview.

“Timing is what is important for us right now,” he said, adding that Qandil will be “made into a safe place for Turkey, no one should doubt that.”

Turkey has conducted frequent air strikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq. It previously carried out cross-border operations in the region in the 1990s and 2000s.

The PKK has waged an insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since the 1980s and some 40,000 people have been killed in clashes. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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