Turkey Retaliates, Kills 15 Kurdish Militants
Turkish government retaliated against the terrorist attack carried out by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Wednesday morning, which killed 24 Turkish security forces, by hot pursuit of the terrorists into the Iraqi territory and by air strikes over their military bases. PKK claimed responsibility for the attacks later in the day and announced that five of their troops were dead in the confrontation with the Turkish troops. The Turkish troops said they had killed 15 militants.
The attack of the Kurdish guerillas threaten to destabilize the region at a time when Syria is engulfed in total mayhem and the American troops are withdrawing from Iraq, leaving behind a very volatile country.
Turkish president, backed by the NATO, which condemned the terrorist attacks in the morning, said that those who inflict pain on Turkish people will endure even more pain. He added that the Kurds will not be able to bring the Turkish state down with their terrorist attacks.
Erdogan had to cancel a meeting with the Kazakhstan leader and attended an emergency meeting with the members of the cabinet, while the foreign minister cancelled a journey abroad.
Turkish army said that it sent 500 troops on Iraqi soil after the attacks and that the helicopter machine guns struck some targets in northern Iraq.
The raid of the Turkish army were condemned by Masoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, as a “criminal act.” Barzani was himself a guerilla fighter during the rule of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and fought himself the Iraqi troops.
Barzani said that the Turkish retaliation was an act directed against the interests of the Kurdish people. He added that violence is not the solution and called for immediate stop of these actions.
Iraqi Kurdish leaders do not allow themselves to be too committed to the suffering of the Kurds in Turkey, nor to object too seriously to the Turkish raids, because they enjoy the border traffic with the prosperous Turkey.
Iraqi leaders in Baghdad however fear that Turkey is using the conflict with the Kurds to extend its influence toward the rich-in-oil territory around Kurdish city of Kirkuk, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The clashes with the Kurds come at a time when another country that has Kurds in it, Iran, has tensioned relations with Turkey, after the Turkish government accepted to place a NATO radar on its territory.
Erdogan’s government passed some reformed that aimed at improving the life of the Kurds and even held talks with Ocalan, the former leader of the PKK, captured by Turkey in 1991. Ocalan said that the peace with the Kurds depended only on the Turkish attitude toward this minority.11