Paratroopers and fighter jets: Turkey launches offensive against PKK in Iraq

Paratroopers and fighter jets
Turkey starts offensive against PKK in Iraq

With support from the air, Turkish soldiers are taking action against positions of militant Kurds in northern Iraq. With the operation, President Erdogan wants to “completely end” the “terrorist threat” on the country’s southern border. He makes it clear that the PKK is viewed as a “gang of murderers”.

The Turkish army has launched a new offensive against militant Kurds in northern Iraq. “Heroic commandos of the heroic Turkish armed forces are in northern Iraq,” tweeted the Turkish Defense Ministry, without giving any details about the number of soldiers involved. According to Turkish media reports, helicopter commandos landed in the Metina region while Turkish fighter jets bombed targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Paratroopers and soldiers firing shots were seen on Turkish television. Head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a video link with the command center of “Operation Krallen-Blitz” that the mission had the goal of “completely ending” the “terror threat” along the Turkish southern border. Turning to the PKK, he said: “There is no room for the separatist terrorist organization in the future of Turkey, Iraq or Syria.” Turkey will “fight until we have eliminated these murderous gangs”.

Turkey sees northern Iraq as a retreat for the PKK, which the government in Ankara and most western states have classified as a “terrorist organization”. Turkish planes regularly attack positions of the Kurdish militia in mountainous northern Iraq from the air. The PKK has been waging a guerrilla fight against the Turkish state since 1984, which initially focused on Kurdish independence. The Turkish security authorities reacted with relentless harshness. Tens of thousands of people have already been killed in the conflict.