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article imageTurkey launches new operation against PKK in northern Iraq

By Ken Hanly     Jun 18, 2020 in Politics
On Wednesday Iraq issued a statement complaining that Turkey had violated its sovereignty as Turkey, which has been airlifting troops and special forces into northern Iraq recently, launched a new offensive against the Kurdish PKK in the Haftanin region.
Turkey claims entrance into Iraq justified as a defensive operation
The Turkish state has been in conflict with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) for years with some lengthy ceasefire periods. Turkey regards the PKK as a terrorist organization as does the US and several other countries.
Turkish and Iraqi positions on Turkish actions
Turkish troops and attack helicopters as well as drone strikes were involved in the latest strikes although Turkey did not specify how many troops were involved. The Turks see their actions as defensive in that the PKK uses Iraq as a base for actions against Turkey and the Iraqi government does nothing about it. In turn the Iraqis regard Turkey's actions against the PKK in Iraq as a violation of its sovereignty but also rarely does anything about Turkish actions. Baghdad summoned Ankara’s ambassador to Iraq , Fatih Yildiz, on Tuesday to protest against Turkey's attacks on the PKK in northern Iraq.
PKK established in northern Iraq
The PKK established itself in northernmost Iraq during a brief ceasefire with Turkey. The PKK has carried out joint operations with other Iraqi forces in combating the Islamic State ISIS. This has led to the PKK being established in several areas of Iraqi Kurdistan, particularly around the city of Sinjar. Turkey has launched a new campaign against them. Turkey regards the PKK as the primary Kurdish group and accuses most others such as the Syrian YPG of being subsidiaries.
New operation follows earlier one
The Turkish foreign ministry
called the new offensive Operation Claw-Tiger and claims it follows “increasing harassment and attempts to attack” military outposts or bases in Turkey. The Ministry shared videos of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar overseeing the mission from a command center in the capital Ankara.
The new operation comes just days after Turkey had launched an air operation in the region which Akar claimed hit suspected PKK targets in a number of locations in the north including Siinjar. The raids targeted 81 revel hideouts.
More about Turkey Iraq relations, Pkk, Operation Clawtiger
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