Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has today described the ongoing military operations against Kurdish forces as the “largest operation in history” with respect to fighting against the Kurdish PKK, saying the attacks will continue both within Turkey and across the borders.
Turkey has been fighting the secessionist PKK off and on for decades, with the most recent conflict launched by Erdogan in the summer of 2015, after he withdrew from a ceasefire to launch a new attack. Fighting against the PKK has chiefly been in southeast Turkey, but also in northern Iraq.
Though it isn’t precisely related, Turkish officials have also linked the military offensive in northern Syria, where they are trading fire with the Kurdish YPG, to this offensive, as Erdogan has repeatedly claimed that the PKK and YPG are basically the same organization.
The PKK’s close ties to Kurdish nationalism, and their status as a terror organization, has often been used by the Erdogan government to target other Kurdish parties, both within Turkey and abroad, by painting them as part of the PKK and by extension terrorists by their very nature.
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