Ahead of his retirement on Saturday, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday received members of the News Photographers' Association and Professional News Cameramen's Association. During the meeting, Buyukanit touted the timing of the February Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) cross-border operation into northern Iraq , stressing that the TSK chose intentionally to strike at a time of poor weather conditions to ensure the success of this key offensive against the terrorist PKK. "Normally operations are conducted in the best possible weather conditions," he explained. "We chose the worst conditions because then members of the terrorist PKK couldn't detonate their bombs due to the heavy snow. The army planners looked over weather reports for recent decades and set February for the operation, when the coldest and the harshest conditions prevailed in the area." He added, "That's why we had no major casualties. If the operation had been held in the summer, we would have had more casualties. The success of the operation proved us right." Buyukanit, who has reached mandatory retirement age, will hand over his duties to Gen. Ilker Basbug on Saturday.