Duvar English - Reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 16 Turkey will expand its cross-border operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after 13 captured Turks were killed in northern Iraq.
Turkey said on Feb. 14 militants from the PK killed the captives, including police and military personnel, as it was carrying out a military operation against the group.
Erdoğan also repeated Ankara's complaint that it had not received enough international solidarity.
"Whether you speak up or not, we know our duty. We will not give the terrorists a chance," Erdoğan told supporters from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the Black Sea province of Trabzon.
"We will expand our operations into areas where threats are still dense," he added. "We will stay in the areas we secure as long as necessary to prevent similar attacks again."
In the past two years, Turkey has launched several cross-border operations to fight the PKK in northern Iraq, where the group has its stronghold in the Qandil mountains.
On Feb. 15, the United States told Ankara that it blamed the PKK for killing the 13 Turks, after Turkey called an earlier U.S. statement on the killings "a joke" and summoned the U.S. ambassador.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, briefing parliament on the operation after opposition parties criticized the government for failing to rescue the Turks, said the offensive was launched without ground support due to the harsh conditions in the mountainous region.