With no signs of a return to the ceasefire even being considered, Turkey’s military is dramatically escalating its war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), launching a ground invasion of northern Iraq today in what officials are calling a “short-term operation” to root out PKK forces in the area.
Turkey has been launching airstrikes against northern Iraq for over a month now, and is dramatically escalating those as well, with over 50 jets involved in airstrikes today, even as ground forces poured across the border, claiming 35-40 “terrorists” were killed in the bombings.
The moves come less than a week after the Turkish parliament renewed the mandate authorizing military ground operations into both Iraq and Syria, though at the time officials were insisting there was no serious consideration of such a move. Such mandates are passed on a regular basis.
Opposition MPs are slamming the announced invasion, saying the move against the Kurdish PKK hands another major victory to ISIS, against whom Turkey is also nominally fighting. Nazmi Gur, one of the leaders of the pro-Kurdish opposition, says Turkey “could not have helped ISIS more if it had tried.”
Throughout the US occupation of Iraq, beginning in 2003, Turkey launched several limited military invasions of northern Iraq, again focusing on attacking PKK forces in the area. The renewed attacks have raised tensions between Turkey and Kurdish factions across the region, and fear that the war is just getting worse.