Tabnak – Although the Turkish Army’s operation against the Kurdish groups in Syria is still far from over, Ankara has launched a new operation in neighboring Iraq to target the Kurdish militants. In a latest development, it’s reported that the Turkish jets have hit a PKK high-level gathering in Qandil.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday that Turkish fighter jets have targeted a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) meeting in Iraq's Qandil mountains.
“With the latest operations, we struck a very important meeting point of theirs. We haven’t received the results yet, but it is certain that they have been hit,” said Erdogan during a Kanal 7 television interview on Saturday.
He added that Turkish forces have also been deployed in a region some 20 kilometers inside northern Iraq, not far from Qandil. Last week, Turkish fighter jets destroyed 12 targets belonging to the outlawed PKK in northern Iraq, the Turkish military.
The mountains are located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq’s Erbil Province. Ankara believes the rugged region is being used as the headquarters of the PKK, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
Turkey has conducted frequent airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq. It previously carried out cross-border operations in the region in the 1990s and 2000s. A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants in 2015 in the wake of a large-scale Turkish campaign against the group.
As for the latest wave of Turkish operations, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on June 12 claimed that Iran has voiced support for the Turkish operation against Kurdish militants in Iraq.
“Our offer to Iran was to carry out the operation together. Iran, in its remarks at least, has voiced very important support,” Canikli told a roundtable interview with the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Canikli said Turkey was also in full agreement with Baghdad on a potential operation into Qandil, adding that Ankara was in talks with “all possible countries” on the matter. Iraq, however, said it would not accept any Turkish operation against Qandil or other PKK strongholds.
On the other hand, Iran on June 14 denied the Turkish minister’s claims about Tehran’s support for the operation in northern Iraq. Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a senior spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces said that respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the other countries is the Islamic Republic’s basic and definite policy.
It should be noted that the Turkish government has been opening military fronts against Kurdish groups in Syria as well. Earlier this year, it launched the ongoing Olive Branch offensive against the purported positions of the US-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia in Syria’s western enclave of Afrin.
Ankara considers the YPG a terror group and the Syrian branch of the PKK. The Turkish operation has been launched without permission from the Syrian government.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.