Turkish forces conduct airstrikes on PKK targets in Northern Iraq

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2nd October 2023 – (Ankara) Turkish military forces launched a series of airstrikes on Sunday evening, targeting 20 sites belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The country’s Defence Ministry confirmed the operation, stating that the airstrikes successfully destroyed PKK bases in Gara, Hakurk, Metina, and Qandil.

The decision to carry out these airstrikes came shortly after an attempted bomb attack took place in front of the Turkish Interior Ministry’s building in Ankara earlier that morning. Two attackers were involved in the incident, which resulted in minor injuries to two police officers. The first attacker activated a suicide bomb, causing his own death, while the second individual was shot and killed by the police.

The Interior Ministry has since revealed that one of the attackers has been identified as a member of the PKK. An ongoing investigation is underway to determine the identity of the second assailant involved in the attack.

The Turkish military has been actively engaged in operations against the PKK in northern Iraq for years. Ground forces, airstrikes, and artillery bombardments are frequently employed, with a particular focus on the Qandil Mountains, which serve as the primary stronghold and base of operations for the PKK.

The PKK has been engaged in a prolonged rebellion against the Turkish government for over three decades. Designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, the PKK seeks greater autonomy and rights for the Kurdish population in the region.

Turkey has consistently maintained a firm stance against the PKK, considering it a grave threat to national security. The country has conducted numerous military operations to counter the group’s activities and disrupt its infrastructure, both within Turkey and across the border in northern Iraq.

The recent airstrikes represent another significant step in Turkey’s ongoing efforts to combat the PKK and dismantle its operational capabilities. By targeting key PKK bases in multiple locations, the Turkish military aims to weaken the organization’s ability to carry out attacks and undermine its overall strength.

While the Turkish government asserts that these military interventions are necessary to protect its citizens and maintain stability in the region, the operations have faced criticism from various human rights organizations. Concerns have been raised regarding civilian casualties and the impact of these actions on the local population.

As the conflict between Turkey and the PKK continues, efforts to find a peaceful resolution and address the underlying grievances remain complex and challenging. International actors have been involved in mediation attempts, encouraging dialogue and negotiations to achieve a lasting solution that addresses the legitimate aspirations of the Kurdish population while ensuring the security and stability of the region.