PKK-Turkey Clashes Force Entire Villages to Evacuate to Kurdish Territory

AFP Photo
AFP Photo

Over 242 people left portions of Hakkari province due to intense fighting between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkish forces.

Civilians told Kurdish outlet Rudaw that the “Turkish military forces set their villages on fire.” Those families took shelter in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Turkish forces claimed the PKK killed at least one soldier and wounded several others. PKK admits their militants “killed 19 soldiers and 13 special operations police and two armored vehicles were destroyed with soldiers inside them.”

The government responded with an airstrike against the PKK. Many F-16 warplanes dropped missiles on a PKK camp in northern Iraq for over an hour.

The PKK killed eight soldiers in Siirt province on Thursday when they “detonated a handmade bomb planted on the highway between Siirt’s Şirvan and Pervari districts.” In Lice, a fight killed a Turkish soldier while another clash injured six soldiers. Two soldiers died in Diyarbakır. The situation in Gömeç went downhill fast:

In a statement released on Wednesday, the military said approximately 100-150 people from the town of Gömeç in Hani attempted to form a human shield against an operation launched when PKK terrorists closed the Diyarbakır-Bingöl highway to traffic on Monday evening. PKK terrorists disguised themselves as villagers, and a clash broke out between them and security forces at around 8:55 p.m. Two soldiers were killed and another was wounded during the exchange of fire, according to the military.

In July, Turkey Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu visited Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani to discuss Turkey’s plan with the United States to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and PKK in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.

While the Syrian Kurdish military allied itself with PKK, the Iraqi Kurds do not get along with PKK. The rivalry between PKK and Barzani’s Kudistan Democratic Party (KDP) traces back to the Iraqi Kurdish civil war in the 1990s.

Despite the attacks, Sinirlioğlu insisted violence is not part of the dialogue.

“Participation in the political process is open to everyone in Turkey, but that should be based on democratic principles and should be away from guns,” he said. “This principle is a must for the success of the reconciliation process. Turkey will stick to this principle.”