Turkish professional forces to protect borders
Turkish army chief said on Friday that Turkish professional military forces will take charge of guarding the country's borders, particularly in border region with northern Iraq, Xinhua reported.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug made the statement at a routine press briefing on Friday while commenting on the latest outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) attacks that have killed 19 soldiers and two civilians since last weekend.
Local CNNTurk quoted the general staff as saying that there was no lack of cooperation with U.S. on intelligence sharing in southeastern Turkey.
The report said that the military was carrying out an operation in southeastern Erzincan province after a clash in which two soldiers and a civilian were killed.
Turkish soldiers broke into a house in the rural area and killed two alleged PKK members, CNNTurk reported.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has dramatically stepped up violence this month, threatening to spread its attacks outside of the country's southeast, its main area of operation.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkish security forces could never lay down their arms.
Holding a press conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before leaving for Canada, he said that security forces can never put their weapons down. "If the terrorist organization lays down arms, then our security forces will minimize the number of operations they conduct. Not a single security team wages an operation under normal circumstances. Establishing peace is the most important issue here."