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On Sunday evening, Turkey conducted air assaults over northern Iraq after a Kurdish terrorist organization claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the Turkish capital Ankara earlier that day.
Turkish military aimed 20 targets in northern Iraq associated to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), including bunkers, warehouses, and tunnels, about 9 p.m. local time on Sunday, according to the Turkish defence ministry.
Suicide bombing in the heart of Ankara
The raids were conducted about 12 hours after a suicide bomber injured two police officers at Turkey’s interior ministry in Ankara on the first day of the country’s parliament’s return from its summer break. According to interior minister Ali Yerlikaya, one suicide bomber detonated his explosives while the other was shot dead by police.
The attack was referred to as “the last stand of terrorism” by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech to lawmakers following the start of parliament. The criminals who sought to harm the public’s safety and tranquillity were unable to succeed, and they will never do so, he stated.
ANF News, a publication affiliated with the separatist party reported that the attack was carried out by the PKK’s “Immortals Battalion.” Later, according to Turkish police, at least one of the attackers was a PKK member.
What is the PKK?
The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, is a militant group with a convoluted past and significant geopolitical influence. The PKK is a Kurdish separatist organization that Abdullah Calan founded in 1978. It aims to create an independent Kurdish state in the region that includes portions of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran and is home to a sizable Kurdish population.
Guerrilla warfare, armed insurgency, and terrorist operations have been hallmarks of PKK activity. Its strategies have produced a protracted battle with the Turkish government that has led in significant violence, fatalities, and violations of human rights on both sides.
The PKK evolved in a variety of ways recently. In the struggle against shared foes like ISIS, it has forged alliances and worked together with other Kurdish organizations, such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. However, the organization’s fundamental goals of Kurdish autonomy and independence continue to be the same, and this contributes to the unrest and strife in the region.
According to ANF, the PKK claimed the event was timed specifically to occur on the day the parliament convened. The PKK is regarded as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, and Turkey.
Security, the major concern
In May’s general election, security was a major campaign theme, with Erdogan’s impassioned rallies frequently referencing his government’s war against the PKK, Isis, and a religious network that Turkey blames for a 2016 coup attempt.
The incident on Sunday came less than a year after a bombing in Istanbul’s business center that killed six people and injured scores. In the past, ISIS and far-left militants have carried out attacks in Turkey.
The most recent significant terror campaign in Turkey occurred from 2015 to 2017, and featured three explosions in the city. Ankara was also a major battleground in the failed 2016 coup attempt, which destroyed the parliament building.
On Sunday, scores Turkish police officers patrolled downtown Ankara, some armed with guns and riot shields. Heavy armoured vehicles guarded the entrance to the parliament building, as a helicopter soared overhead.
The government, which strictly controls the press and social media, put reporting limits on local media outlets and regularly warned them against spreading misinformation.
Support to Turkey in these hard times
Allies have expressed their support. The European Council’s president, Charles Michel, sharply condemned this barbaric effort to inflict harm and death on the Turkish people.
Jill Morris, the British ambassador, stated that the British condemns all forms of terrorism and stand firmly in support of their friend and ally Turkey in its fight against it.
In a post on the social networking website X, the US embassy expressed its condemnation of the attack on a NATO member and stated that it “stands in solidarity with Turkey against terrorism.”