Turkish jets hit Kurdish targets in northern Iraq

Turkish Air Force F16 fighter jets taxi on the runway at the Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.

Turkish Air Force F16 fighter jets taxi on the runway at the Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.

Turkish jets hit Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq overnight on Friday, a senior security official said, as President Tayyip Erdogan urged the international community to prioritise the fight against terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Eight F-16 jets flying from Diyarbakir air base hit bunkers and weapons stashes in the Kandil region, where the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has its headquarters.

The attacks came as Turkey prepares to host world leaders for the G20 summit in the Mediterranean city of Antalya on Sunday and Monday.

Violence between Kurdish insurgents and Turkish security forces has surged since the collapse of a two-year ceasefire in July, with hundreds thought to have died in the bloodshed.

There has been little sign of the tit-for-tat attacks diminishing following a decisive victory for the ruling AK Party founded by Erdogan in snap elections earlier this month, afterwhich he vowed to “liquidate” the militants.

The PKK is listed as a terror organisation in Turkey, Europe and the United States, and Ankara has vowed to crack down on the group as part of a wider campaign against terrorism that has also seen it launch air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria.

“We have always struggled with terrorism, and we have now reached a point where words end regarding this struggle,” Erdogan said in Antalya as he offered his condolences for the attacks in Paris in which gunmen and bombers killed at least 127 on Friday night.

“All terrorism is bad, we must leave aside the feeling that our terrorist is bad and your terrorist is good,” Erdogan said in a veiled reference to the PKK.

The PKK has been fighting for more than three decades for greater Kurdish autonomy, and its insurgency has cost more than 40,000 lives. The Turkish capital was also hit by a suicide bomb attack last month which killed more than 100, and has been linked to ISIS.


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