Iraqi President Talabani visits Ankara following Turkish offensive
( dpa ) - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is to hold official talks in Ankara on Friday, Turkish media reported Tuesday.
The visit by Talabani, who is a Kurd, comes after a Turkish military offensive on camps belonging to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq ended last Friday.
The Turkish military denied that it had been pressured into ending the offensive by the United States, which had called for a swift end.
Turkey's top general on Monday defended the surprise ending of the incursion, saying the main target of the operation was a Kurdish separatist camp in Zap valley, and that once that had been destroyed the troops were ordered home.
"The Zap base was the target. Zap was the brain of armed terrorism," NTV private television quoted General Yasar Buyukyanit as saying.
Zap valley is located about six kilometres inside Iraq and has been used as a major staging post for PKK fighters to launch attacks inside Turkey.
Turkey had launched "Operation Gunes" on the night of February 21, with some 10,000 soldiers sent across the border to seek out PKK rebels and their camps.
According to the Turkish military, 240 PKK fighters, 24 Turkish soldiers and three state-employed village guards were killed in the week-long operation.