Turkey’s foreign ministry has issued a statement this weekend rejecting Iraq’s demand that they stop carrying out airstrikes against Iraqi territory. They say airstrikes against PKK forces in northern Iraq will continue as a “national security issue for Turkey.”
Turkey’s military reported killing eight PKK members in northern Iraq in a strike Friday. Iraq responded by summoning the ambassador, and complaining it was a violation of sovereignty that endangers Iraqi citizens.
Turkey has been attacking PKK targets in Iraq virtually since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and has made repeated military targeting of them a priority. As Iraq moves beyond its wars, however, the government is under growing pressure to get foreign airstrikes to stop.
The presence of so many PKK forces in northern Iraq is itself a function of the brief peace talks between Turkey and the PKK. During the ceasefire, PKK fighters were encouraged to move across the border, and when Turkey ditched the ceasefire, they started attacking those areas.