Turkish troops attack Iraq Kurds
By Rizwan Khatik - Thu Oct 20, 4:34 am
Ankara: Turkish forces have launched an incursion into the mountains of northern Iraq following simultaneous attacks by Kurdish separatists in southeastern Turkey that killed at least 26 soldiers.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long separatist struggle against Ankara, has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which occurred late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday.
A security source said the attacks targeted police and military installations in several locations in Cukurca and Yuksekova in Hakkari province near the border with northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
The Turkish army responded with an air-supported operation against the fighters in Iraq’s northern Qandil mountains, with both airstrikes and soldiers on the ground employed.
“As of now, wide reaching operations, including hot pursuit operations, are continuing in the region within the framework of international law,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, told a news conference on Wednesday.
Speaking on Turkish television, Erdogan appealed for calm from the Turkish people, and said that it was “very clear that this terrorist organisation is a piece in the hands of certain powers”. He did not elaborate on who those “powers” were.
Erdogan has cancelled a trip to Kazakhstan, while Ahmet Davutoglu, his foreign minister, called off a diplomatic visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, took a firm stance on Turkey’s right to respond.
“No one should forget that those who make us suffer this pain will be made to suffer even stronger,’’ he told reporters on Wednesday. “They will see that the vengeance for these attacks will be immense”.