Turkey cracks down on Kurdish militants after Ankara attack
Turkey has launched a crackdown on Kurdish militants and their supporters, resulting in dozens of arrests. This operation follows an assault that left two policemen injured and was claimed by a branch of the PKK, a designated terrorist group by Turkey and its Western allies.
Turkish authorities confirmed the death of one attacker during a police confrontation, while the other perished in a suspected suicide blast near Turkey’s interior ministry. These incidents occurred just hours before President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s scheduled appearance at a parliamentary session.
Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya reported the detention of 67 individuals linked to “terrorist organizations” across 16 provinces during these operations. Simultaneously, Turkey initiated airstrikes against suspected PKK bases in the northern Iraqi mountains.
The PKK has been involved in an insurgency dating back to 1984, causing the loss of tens of thousands of lives in Turkey. Ongoing Turkish military operations have pushed the group across the border into Iraq.
Coinciding with these developments, Turkey’s parliamentary session included a request for the ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership. However, this ratification has been stalled due to Sweden’s refusal to ban PKK marches and gatherings in Stockholm, which has caused frustration among Turkish lawmakers.
Some analysts speculate that the PKK’s recent actions may be aimed at obstructing Turkey’s NATO ratification, as it could signify an improvement in Ankara’s strained relations with Washington.
Turkey is actively seeking the United States’ withdrawal of support for Kurdish fighters affiliated with the YPG group in Syria, a potential policy shift that Turkey hopes to achieve in exchange for its NATO ratification. Washington had previously relied on the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State group, but Turkey views the YPG as a sister organization of the PKK.