Turkey Opens War Against Kurds, Bombs PKK & ISIS

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Turkey has joined the air campaign against the Islamic State, but used its jets to bomb Kurdish forces affiliated with the PKK as well as ISIS.

Over the weekend Turkey responded to an Islamic State suicide bombing on the border town of Suruc, which killed 36, by bombing ISIS targets in northern Iraq. While they were there, they also bombed seven different PKK sites in Northern Iraq. Casualty figures are unknown.

This is the first attack against the PKK since peace talks began in 2012.  The Kurds are the majority in areas of southern Turkey, as well as parts of Syria, Iraq and Iran. They are the largest stateless minority in the world. The PKK fought a three-decade war against Turkey which killed 40,000 people and was only ended in 2012.

The PKK have killed two Turkish soldiers in retaliation. PKK Spokesman Zagros Hiwa said “Turkey has basically ended the cease-fire.”

The Turkish government is also suppressing domestic dissent, detaining some 1,000 people in Ankara who demonstrated for peace over the weekend.

America has drawn fire for supporting Turkey against the Kurds, who have hitherto been the only non-sectarian ground forces holding out against the Islamic State in northern Syria and Iraq. U.S. sources stood by Turkey’s right to defend itself against terrorist attacks from the PKK.

The PKK claimed responsibility for killing two Turkish police officers last week, angered that the Turkish government has not done enough to prevent terrorist attacks by the Islamic State. Those killed in Suruc were volunteers on a mission to reconstruct Kobane, which had been devastated by an Islamic State attack earlier in the year.

Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter the Islamic State said: "We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful 'solution process' for a just and sustainable peace."

Turkey has now agreed to allow coalition aircraft to bomb the Islamic State from its territory, something the U.S. has been requesting for a long time. The U.S. denies allowing Turkey to bomb the PKK in exchange for access to Turkish air bases.

NATO is now holding an emergency meeting at Turkey’s request to discuss ISIS and the PKK. 

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