Turkey Continues Air Raids In Northern Iraq, Kurdistan

For the third day in a row, Turkish fighter bombers based in Diyarbakir were flying air raids in northern Iraq yesterday evening.

In a press release the General Staff of the Turkish Army confirmed today, that the Turkish air force again attacked PKK positions in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.  All the planes returned safely after successfully completing their missions.

However, it remains unclear what the result of the bomb attacks are because neither Turkish nor Kurdish sources are giving credible information on that. The Kurdish PKK-affiliated news agency Firat writes, that the Turkish planes hit “civilian areas” without giving any details

In the latest series of air raids the Turkish forces apparently have used standoff weapons and bunker-penetrating bombs to destroy camps, storage areas and bunkers of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces. Firat on the other hand writes, that the PKK does not have fixed camps in the area and operates out of mobile bases. As usual in the absence of hard information, everybody feels free to interpret the few known facts for propaganda purposes.

Meanwhile, Turkish police is raiding suspected PKK hideouts in Turkey in several provinces. At least 20 people have been detained yesterday. In a separate operation Turkish security forces warded off a PKK-attack on a Gendarmerie-post in Tunceli province. The Turkish forces pursued a group of 20 guerillas for two days with air and ground assets, but were unable to capture the PKK fighters. They left the body of a woman behind but it is unclear whether she was a casualty of the fighting.

The PKK conducted a series of operations in Tunceli province over the last weeks resulting in casualties on both sides. The Turkish authorities call them “terrorist attacks,” while an official of the Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga (armed forces) said, that the Kurds are “commited to exercise [their] right of self-defense in case of attack against the Kurdish region.”

On the Turkish side the tone also gets more aggressive: the Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said in an interview with NTVt, that “the Turkish government’s objective is to bring a decisive end to PKK terrorism to pave the way for more democratization”. He also calls on the Kurdish party in Turkey BDP to distance itself from the PKK.

(Sources: Firat, Turkish General Staff, Turkishpress; 20 August 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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