ISTANBUL (AFP) – The Turkish armed forces have carried out their first air strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq since last week’s coup attempt, killing 20 fighters, state media reported Wednesday.
F-16 fighter jets late Tuesday hit targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the Hakurk region of northern Iraq, said the state-run Anadolu news agency, quoting security sources.
Former Turkish air force chief General Akin Ozturk, 25 other ex-generals and many soldiers have been arrested, suspected of planning last Friday’s coup, in which rebel troops used jets and tanks to try to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the resumption of fighting between Turkish security forces and the PKK after a largely successful two-and-a-half year truce.
The ceasefire had sparked hopes of a final peace deal to end Turkey’s three-decade conflict with the PKK.
Instead, the PKK has returned to routine attacks on security forces, who have hit back with relentless operations in Turkish urban centres and air raids in the mountains of southeast Turkey and PKK bases in northern Iraq.