ANKARA, Turkey – Kurdish rebels detonated an explosives-laden agricultural vehicle Sunday at a military police station in eastern Turkey, killing two soldiers and wounding 31 others, authorities said, amid a sharp escalation of violence between the government forces and the autonomy-seeking insurgents.
The wounded soldiers were taken to a local hospital while the PKK militants staged an ambush to prevent reinforcements and medical teams from reaching the station.
Turkey began a campaign of air strikes on Kurdish militants in northern Iraq and on Kurdish PKK and Islamic State fighters in Syria on July 24, in what Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called a “synchronised fight against terror”. A joint study is also expected to be conducted with the regional authorities in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Deep impact… Members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inspect a crater reportedly caused by an air strikes by Turkish warplanes on July 29 in the Qandil mountain, the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq.
Many people are scratching their heads wondering how the US went from supporting the Kurds in Iraq and Syria to backing Turkey’s campaign against them in the former (and turning a blind eye to it in the latter), but the reality is that the US was manipulating them as geopolitical pawns from the get-go.
Agri province in Turkey. A truce that has helped bring social and economic stability to Turkey evaporated only one week into the government’s new offensive against the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which stretches from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.
At least 24 people have been killed on the Turkish side in the recent unrest, majority soldiers.
Pro-Kurdish news media said that at least nine civilians were killed on Saturday in a Turkish air raid on a Kurdish village in northern Iraq.
Turkish targeting of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) would be both unsurprising and complicating for US policy, especially as the United States has now given in to a long-standing Turkish demand for a “safe zone” in northern Syria.
To further limit the influence of Kurds in Turkish politics, Erdogan has also threatened to strip members of parliament of diplomatic immunity and prosecute them for ties to the PKK.
The Iraqi Kurdish government has worked to remove the PKK from their territory for years.
Turkey claims that around 260 Kurdish fighters have been killed since raids began last month. Murat Eser, who runs the teahouse, recalled the troubles of the 1990s at the height of the fighting, when Lice was burned, and said that locals wanted peace but were also willing to defend their rights.
The Turkish government is believed to be one of the main supporters of the terrorist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2011, with reports showing that Ankara actively trains and arms the militants operating in Syria, and also facilitates the safe passage of would-be foreign terrorists into crisis-hit areas.