Turkish Military Conducts Airstrikes on PKK Targets Following Deadly Bombing in Capital


Ankara — Turkey's armed forces launched airstrikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq on Sunday, responding swiftly after the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) claimed responsibility for a fatal bombing in the capital. This incident marks the latest assault in the group's nearly four-decade long insurgency.

According to an official statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry, 20 PKK targets, including caves, bunkers, shelters, and warehouses, were obliterated in the Metina, Hakurk, Kandil, and Gara regions. The statement emphasized that a substantial number of terrorists were neutralized using domestically produced weaponry, invoking self-defense rights outlined in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter to justify the strikes.

The PKK, designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, previously claimed responsibility for the explosion outside Turkey's Interior Ministry building. This attack resulted in one fatality and two injuries, as reported by the pro-PKK Firat News Agency.

As per the ministry's account, two assailants fatally attacked a civilian and stole his vehicle prior to the commencement of parliamentary proceedings in Ankara. Two police officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. One attacker detonated explosives, while the other was neutralized.

Upon investigation, authorities discovered an array of weaponry at the scene, including four types of firearms, three hand grenades, a rocket launcher, and C-4 explosives. The ministry confirmed one of the attackers as a PKK member, while the identity of the second assailant remains unverified.

Kurds, an ethnic group without an officially designated homeland, constitute the largest minority in Turkey, accounting for approximately 15% to 20% of the population, according to the Minority Rights Group International.

Notably, Kurdistan, one of the largest stateless nations globally, holds partial recognition from Iran, specifically the province of Kordestan, and Iraq, where the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is situated.

According to Turkish authorities, the PKK trains separatist fighters and launches attacks against Turkey from its bases in northern Iraq and Syria, where an affiliated Kurdish group controls significant territory.

In the mid to late 2010s, Turkey experienced a series of tragic terror attacks, largely attributed to the spillover insecurity from war-torn Syria across the shared border.

Last November, Ankara pinned responsibility on the PKK for a bombing on a central pedestrian boulevard in Istanbul, which claimed six lives and left dozens injured.

In recent years, Turkey has undertaken a series of operations against the PKK within its borders and has also conducted cross-border missions into Syria.

Addressing lawmakers on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan affirmed Turkey's unwavering commitment to combat terrorism, pledging to continue until the last terrorist is eliminated both domestically and abroad. He characterized Sunday's attack as the "final flutters of terrorism" within the country.