Turkish Jets Attack PKK in Northern Iraq After Attacks
ANKARA, Turkey—Turkish jets raided suspected Kurdish rebel targets across the border in northern Iraq, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported Thursday, following a wave of attacks that killed at least 12 people.
Meanwhile, police in Istanbul conducted a series of raids across the city, including a branch of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish political party, detaining 17 suspected Kurdish militants, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The cross-border raid and police operation came a day after four Turkish soldiers were killed near the border with Iraq in attacks targeting military vehicles and eight other people died in southeast Turkey in simultaneous bomb attacks targeting police vehicles.
Officials blamed all three attacks — which occurred as Turkey was still dealing with the aftermath of the failed July 15 military coup — on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
The Turkish warplanes attacked PKK rebels in the Sinath-Haftanin region of northern Iraq, Anadolu reported, citing unnamed security sources. It said the military was still assessing the damage.
In Istanbul, police supported by helicopters conducted pre-dawn raids on 10 locations including a building of the People’s Democratic Party — Turkey’s third largest party in parliament. Anadolu said the police operation targeted the PKK’s “urban structure.”
Clashes between the PKK and Turkey’s security forces resumed last year after a fragile, 2 ½-year peace process collapsed. Since then, Turkish jets have frequently raided PKK targets in cross-border operations.
Earlier this week, PKK commander Cemil Bayik threatened attacks against police in Turkish cities, according to media reports.
Since hostilities with the PKK resumed last summer, more than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK militants have been killed, according to Anadolu. Human rights groups say hundreds of civilians have also died in the clashes.
Tens of thousands of people have died in the conflict since the PKK took up arms for Kurdish autonomy in 1984. Turkey and its allies consider the group a terror organization.