The Turkish military stated that:
The Turkish armed forces [Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri (TSK)], which value Iraq's territorial integrity and its stability, will return as soon as planned goals are achieved. The executed operation will prevent the region from being a permanent and safe base for the terrorists and will contribute to Iraq's stability and internal peace.How long will it take for the Turkish Armed Forces to 'prevent the region' - south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq (Kurdistan)(1) being a 'permanent and safe base' for the PKK it has already been fighting for 24 years? Turkish security sources believe 15 days.
On Thursday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said that there had been a 'gunfight' between Turkish military and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga, but the Turkish military denied it. Early on Friday, the KRG agreed with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari that, '[u]ntil this minute, we have not received anything from the border guards about Turkish forces crossing the international border'.
'Turkish broadcaster NTV', however, had 'reported, without citing sources, that 10,000 troops had entered Iraqi territory', then it turned out that Turkey 'had launched a ground offensive backed by fighter jets' on Thursday after all and that it even 'gave the United States and Iraqi authorities advance notice'. Iraq subsequently 'protest[ed] the incursion', but 'play[ed] down the operation, saying only a few hundred Turkish troops were involved' (as did the US), while Turkey talked of '3,000 to 10,000'.
The BBC relayed Kurdish Iraqi claims that '[n]o vehicles or tanks were involved in the move across the border, although helicopter gunships were in action as well as jets and artillery', but they also included claims that 'Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces... had no contact with the Turkish troops', when Iraqi government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh had reported two confrontations between Turkish military and Kurdish Peshmerga, in which the Kurdish Peshmerga first blocked Turkish tanks from leaving their barracks inside Iraq, then blocked Turkish soldiers from crossing the border into Iraq (apparently without casualties on either side).
As one friend sighed, 'always the same propaganda'.
- The Turkish military talks about the incursion into Iraq, but (via Mizgîn) Today's Zaman noted that '[m]ilitary sources indicate that the spring operation will be carried out in two separate regions, one along Turkey's borders with Iran and Iraq and one inside Turkey, near the provinces of Tunceli, Bingöl, Siirt and Diyarbakır'.