A few days after an attack by the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in the capital Ankara, the Turkish Air Force has again attacked targets in northern Iraq. Among other things, the Qandil Mountains, where the PKK has its headquarters, were bombed, the Defense Ministry in Ankara said.

More than 20 targets were destroyed, including hideouts and weapons depots. In addition, numerous PKK fighters were put out of action – which usually means that they were killed. The bombings were, among other things, a reaction to the attack on Sunday; they were invoking the right to self-defense, it said.

On Sunday, two police officers were injured in a suicide attack in front of the Interior Ministry in Ankara. Another attacker was killed in an exchange of fire. The PKK claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Turkish authorities later identified the attackers as PKK members.

Fidan now said that the attackers were trained in Syria and from there illegally entered Turkey. “The response of our armed forces to this terrorist attack will be extremely clear,” Fidan said. “You will once again regret committing such an act.”

Not the first military operation

Turkey has already carried out military operations several times against the PKK in Iraq and against the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria. In the past, the Bundestag’s Scientific Service had doubted whether similar operations were compatible with international law.

Ankara sees the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK in Syria and lists both as terrorist organizations. The USA and Europe, in turn, only see the PKK as a terrorist organization – the Kurdish militia YPG, on the other hand, is the USA’s partner in the fight against the terrorist militia IS in Syria.

There have been repeated attacks in Turkey in the past. In November 2022, a bomb exploded on Istanbul’s Istiklal shopping street. Six people were killed. According to the Turkish government, the attacker had connections to the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG. She denied being behind the attack.