Turkey’s war on PKK and IS

The events started on 20 July, when an Islamic State [IS] suicide bomber blow himself up outside a cultural centre in the Turkish town of Suruc near the border with Syria, killing 32 and injuring 104 people. Most of the victims were Kurdish students and members of the Federation of Socialist Youths [SGDF], who were rallying in support for the displaced residents and children of Ayn al-Arab [Kobane] which is 10 km away from the Turkish town of Suruc.

This terrorist attack comes weeks after Turkey deployed additional military troops and armoured vehicles along parts of its Southern border with Syria, concerned about the risk of spillover as fighting between Islamic State, Revolutionary factions and Kurdish forces intensifies.

The Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] in a statement blamed the recent suicide attack in Suruc on the Turkish government despite the Turkish officials have denied their involvement and accused IS for the terrorist attack. Many in Turkey feel the Turkish government has not done enough to support the Syrian Kurds in their fight to combat the threat of IS fighters across the border in Syria.

‘I condemn those who conducted this brutality,’ President Erdogan said. He also added ‘Terror has no religion, no country, no race.’

The tensions evolved when PKK ignored the Turkish government statements and investigation and launched an attack killing 2 Turkish traffic policeman and injuring the other one in revenge for the Suruc bombing as they [PKK] said.

On 23 July Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu assembled a Security meeting in the Çankaya mansion which was attended by many ministers, officials and military generals to discuss about the recent attacks. This assembly ended by Turkey declaring war on IS and PKK, including launching a counter-terrorism operations against members and associates of IS, PKK and DKHP/C throughout Turkey.

Turkish government spokesperson said that in Turkey’s full-fledged battle against terrorist groups, so far 1,000 people have been arrested across the country, 847 are accused of links to the PKK and 137 to IS. At least 24 people have been killed in the renewed violence in Turkey, most of them are Turkish soldiers.

suruc terror attack

IS suicide attack / Youtube

Operation Martyr Yalcin

Turkey launched a military operation conducted by the Turkish Air Force against Islamic State [IS] positions in Syria and Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] positions in Northern Iraq. The operation is named after Yalçın Nane, the soldier killed in the IS attack on the Turkish border town of Elbeyli.

Reports indicate that 35 IS fighters  had been killed in the first wave after footage from the fighter jets and unmanned aircraft were analysed, while the airstrikes in Northern Iraq were confirmed to have killed a high-ranking PKK member and were alleged to have killed the PKK commander Murat Karayılan including other 260 PKK fighters. Turkish airstrikes had also destroyed at least six homes in the Iraqi town of Zargel, killing at least 8 civilians and wounding 12.

Since the US coalition war on Islamic State, US and its western allies have pressured Turkey to join the coalition but due to recent events, Turkey has finally allowed the United States to use its Incirlik airbase near Diyarbakir to launch air attacks against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq.

Turkish Jets

Turkish Jets / eKurd

Impact

Democratic Union Party [PYD] will have a difficult time now after Turkey will change their relations and policies towards them after they resumed the war against the PKK, PYD will be targeted as well for having a close relations with PKK which has a strong presence in northern Syria and also their supply route will be lost after Turkey moved more of its troops to the border to tighten the security alongside it borders.

Tensions between Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG] and PKK escalated when PKK fighters attacked the oil pipeline that carries crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish coast for export. That pipeline is the financial lifeline for Iraqi Kurds and it is the only way to sell serious volumes of crude oil that the Kurdish regional government needs to keep functioning since they are financially independent from the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.

Iraq’s Kurdish regional government President Massoud Barzani has called on the PKK to withdraw from Iraq’s Kurdish territory to prevent more civilian deaths amid the Turkish airstrikes, while condemning Turkey for bombing civilians. The regional government also called on both sides to resume peace talks.

PKK militants

PKK fighters / Diplomacy Post

Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] and People’s Democratic Party [HDP] have made a mistake for not resuming the peace talks, HDP refusal to partner Justice and Development Party [AKP] on a political coalition was not the right decision to make especially when AKP has been more sympathetic to the ethnic Kurdish demands in the last 13 years compared with other political parties and previous governments which leaves with no choice only partner with Nationalist parties like Republican People’s Party [CHP] and Nationalist Movement Party [MHP], which is most likely they will not partner them in a coalition.

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