Saturday, July 25, 2015
After joining fight against IS, Turkey attacked Kurdish bases and arrested some 600 people
In massive operations Turkey arrested about 600 Kurds and IS-supporters all over Turkey on Friday and Saturday.(Photo AFP)
Turkey said on Saturday that its fighter jets hit militant camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq overnight, and Turkish ground forces struck the PKK and Islamic State fighters in northern Syria. The strikes against PKK targets are likely to be a major blow to the stalled Kurdish peace process.
Turkey also started a massive operation to arrest Kurds and IS sympathizers all over teh country. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said at a press conference on Saturday that in addition to 302 people detained on Friday, 288 more were detained in operations that took place in 22 provinces throughout the night and early on Saturday. “As of now, a total of 590 terror-linked people who pose potential threat to Turkey are under detention,” he said. Turkish police launched first raids on Friday targeting ISIL, the PKK and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) in 13 provinces across Turkey and detained 297 suspects.
Early on Saturday police teams raided addresses in a number of provinces, including İstanbul, Ankara, Konya, Adana and Erzincan and detained many people. In Adana, 54 people were detained in an operation that targeted ISIL and the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H) -- an affiliate of the PKK.
Turkey stepped up its role in the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group Islamic State on Friday. As well as launching its first air strikes against the hardliners in Syria, it promised to open up its air bases to the United States. Fighter jets hit PKK targets in several locations in northern Iraq, including warehouses, "logistic points", living quarters and storage buildings, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said.
Turkey's more active role comes after a suspected Islamic State suicide bomber killed 32 people, some of them Kurds, this week in the border town of Suruc. That touched off a wave of violence in the mainly Kurdish southeast, with the PKK killing at least two police officers, calling it retaliation for the suicide bombing.
The PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington, has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey for greater Kurdish autonomy. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan started peace talks in 2012 with the Kurds, who represent nearly 20 percent of Turkey's population, but they now blame him for backtracking on promises. On Friday, Erdogan said he had told U.S. President Barack Obama that the PKK would be a focus for attacks. Many Kurds and opposition supporters have suspected Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing Islamic State against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.
The PKK said on Saturday its truce with Ankara had lost all meaning after an overnight attack by Turkish warplanes on its camps in northern Iraq. "The truce has no meaning anymore after these intense air strikes by the occupant Turkish army," the PKK said in a statement on its website.