Istanbul/Baghdad: Attacks Turkey launched after infiltrating into northern Iraq has killed 60 people. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar claimed that 53 of them were Kurdish rebels. Also, Tukey announced that it would seize military bases in Iraq to control the Kurds, just like in Syria. Outraged, Iraq summoned a Turkish ambassador.
Ten days ago, Turkey launched two military operations in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, Pence-Simsek, meaning Operation Claw-Lightning, and Pence-Yildirim, meaning Operation Claw-Thunderbolt. Erdogan government alleged that militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated by Turkey as a terrorist organisation, were based in the area. Turkey initiated attacks on Iraq’s Kurdistan region after alleging that the PKK terrorists, which pose a threat to its security, are hiding here.
According to Turkish Defense Minister Akar, 53 PKK militants have been killed in the last ten days, including a senior commander. Also, seven Turkish soldiers were killed in the clashes. The Turkish Defense Minister announced that it would continue with operations against the PKK and its supporters.
Turkey seized 16 weapons and a large cache of ammunition during its operation against the rebels. In addition, it seized two Kalashnikov rifles, the Soviet-era DShK heavy machine guns. The Turkish defence minister has alleged the arms recovered were of US and Russia make. “Unfortunately, Turkey’s allies are supplying missiles and other arms and ammunition to the terrorists. Therefore, the terrorists are a greater threat to our security,” Defence Minister Akar said as he targeted the United States and Russia without direct mention.
During a meeting of the Turkish ruling party, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkey should capture a military base in Iraq. “We need to continue the operations in Iraq if we want to reach the main bases of the Kurdish terrorists. We must build a base in the region, just as we did in Syria,” Soylu said. At the time, the interior minister also mentioned the Metina base located in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.
A wave of anger has emerged in Iraq against Turkey after the Turkish military launched an operation by infiltrating into Iraq and hinted at taking over its military base. The Iraqi government has summoned the Turkish ambassador over the issue. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry even criticised Turkey’s attacks in Kurdistan, calling it a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. The repercussions of the Turkish military attacks are being felt in Iran’s parliament as well.
For the past seven decades, Western countries have shown the Kurds, scattered across Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, the dream of establishing an independent Kurdistan. However, Western countries have not made an effort to resolve this issue. Some Kurdish organisations have thereby initiated an armed struggle. In Iraq, an autonomous region of Kurdistan has been formed. Nevertheless, the Kurdish population in Iran, Syria and Turkey are still fighting for their rights.
Turkey has declared Kurdish organisation PKK and its affiliated groups in Syria and Iraq as terrorist organisations. Besides, Turkey has launched military operations against Kurds in Syria and Iraq. The Turkish move has been condemned by Iraq, Syria, as well as the United States and Russia.