Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK targets

Turkish jets strike Kurdish PKK targets
The fragile peace process falters after Ankara bombs outposts of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party near the border with Iraq.
2 min read
14 October, 2014
Kurds have been fighting IS militants in Kobane [Getty]

Turkish F-16 jets bombed sites near the Iraqi border understood to be used by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Monday night. The airstrikes, which hit the village of Daglica in Turkey's Kurdish-majority Hakkari province, is the first major military operation against the outlawed group since peace talks began two years ago.


Turkish attack helicopters also attacked PKK targets around the village of Geyiksuyu in the Tunceli province of eastern Turkey on Monday night.


Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkish forces took the "necessary measure" following attacks by the PKK on military outposts.


"It is impossible for us to tolerate or to placate these (attacks)," Davutoglu said.


An official statement on Tuesday said that PKK forces had shot at Turkish military outposts in Hakkari with long-range weapons over the weekend, prompting the military to retaliate.


The PKK tells a different story. They claim that the Turkish military has been attacking their fighters in the region for the past three days, forcing them to retaliate by firing at a military unit.


These attacks come amid heightened tension in Turkey over the attack by the Islamic State group (IS, formerly known as ISIS) on the Syrian town of Kobane, which lies just a few hundred metres from the border with Turkey. Turkish Kurds accuse Ankara of standing by while Syrian Kurds are being slaughtered in the besieged town.


Frustrated with the lack of Turkish actions to halt the Islamic State group’s advance on Kobane, the country’s Kurdish community has taken to the streets in several cities, with more than 30 people killed in the deadly clashes.


Kurds say they do not want Turkish troops in Kobane - but want Turkey to allow its territory to be used for delivering weapons to Kurdish fighters defending the key Syrian town, an idea Ankara has so far rejected.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the unrest on the "dark forces" seeking to sabotage the delicate peace process with the PKK. The PKK has led an armed campaign for Kurdish autonomy since 1984.


Kurds, who make up an estimated 20 percent of Turkey's 75 million people, have faced decades of discrimination, including restrictions on the use of their language.