It was called after Turkish warplanes last week started striking militant targets in Syria in response to an Islamic State group suicide bombing in southern Turkey that left 32 people dead, and another IS attack on Turkish forces, which killed a soldier.
The attacks came amidst escalating tensions in Turkey as the PKK has staged several offenses against Turkish security forces, with the government’s military operations targeted the PKK’s posts both in Turkey and in Iraq since last week. Germany warned on Wednesday about possible attacks on Istanbul’s underground rail network and bus stops.
“Turkey carried out a couple of air strikes against Islamic State just for show, without causing serious damage to it, nor is Islamic State feeling serious pressure from Turkey”, he said.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday she had told her Turkish counterpart that Berlin backed Ankara in the fight against IS but had “concerns over the intervention against the PKK“.
“We are used to this”.
What makes this Turkish thrust worrisome is that two other Kurdish groups, the “peshmerga” militias of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq and the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units or YPG, have been the most effective ground-force partners of the U.S. campaign against Islamic State.
In the United States, Turkey watchers are closely following the developments. “We have to establish democratic pressure that will help silence the guns immediately”.
The incident comes against the backdrop of renewed violence between Turkish forces and the PKK, whose elements have long been engaged in militancy in southeastern Turkey.
Dr Quilliam says that Western allies in Syria would struggle to protect any refugees relocated to such a safe zone, while it would allow jihadists to strengthen their attacks on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad.
Sisi is also anxious about Islamist militants in neighbouring Libya, which has descended into chaos since autocrat Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. But he stopped short of declaring it definitively over. On March 3, 2013, Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdish group PKK, called for a ceasefire and urged his fighters to lay down their arms.
Turkey considers both the PKK and IS terrorist organisations. The move came two days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Kurdish politicians should be prosecuted for links to terror groups.
Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, who has overseen the government side of peace efforts, accused the HDP of sacrificing the process in the name of its own political ambition, saying it had been more interested in winning enough votes to enter parliament than in working to resolve the conflict.
All fifteen IS suspects, including 11 foreign nationals, detained in raids at a low-income Ankara neighbourhood this week were released, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. “This is a process and it will continue with the same determination”, Erdogan said, after phone calls overnight with French President Francois Hollande, the king of Saudi Arabia and the emir of Qatar. First the PKK should put down weapons. “While our cooperation has steadily improved and the urgent crisis seems to have pushed us even closer, our differences are likely masked rather than fully resolved”, Chollet, now a senior adviser at the German Marshall Fund, said.
The AKP has been holding coalition talks, but the leader of the largest opposition party, the CHP, said last week he saw an early election as the most likely outcome.
“If the aim, as stated by the government, was to clear the border of the IS threat, the operation against IS in Syria appears to be weak and ineffective”, said Serkan Demirtas, columnist for Hurriyet Daily News.
The Turkish president has been reluctant to take part in the battle against IS because the coalition’s main regional allies are Kurds. “He wants Turkey to have a snap election quickly”.