Türkiye conducts airstrikes in Iraq after terrorist attack
Turkish warplanes have conducted airstrikes against suspected strongholds of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) inside Iraqi Kurdistan, in response to a suicide bombing near the Interior Ministry in Ankara on Sunday.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said that “20 targets used by terrorists” were destroyed in an “air operation” carried out in the regions of Metina, Hakurk, Qandil and Gara in northern Iraq around 9pm on Sunday.
Ankara said the goal of the raid was to “neutralize the PKK and other terrorist elements, prevent terrorist attacks from northern Iraq against our population and our law enforcement agencies, and ensure the security of our borders.”
On Sunday morning, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device outside the Turkish Interior Ministry, while his accomplice was neutralized by security forces. There were no other fatalities, but two police officers were injured, according to officials.
The PKK allegedly claimed responsibility and said the attack was meant to send a “warning” to the Turkish government, according to the PKK-linked Firat news agency.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the blast “the latest attempt” to inflict terror on Turks, adding that those who “threaten the peace and security of citizens have not achieved their goals and never will.”
The PKK and its affiliates have been waging an insurgency since the 1980s, demanding political and cultural autonomy with the final goal of establishing an independent Kurdish State, while laying claim to territories in southeast Türkiye and northern parts of Iraq and Syria.
The attack occurred on the day when Türkiye’s parliament reconvened from a recess for a new session, during which it is scheduled to consider Sweden’s NATO membership. Stockholm’s bid remains in limbo as Ankara has demanded that it do more to battle Islamophobia and extradite terror suspects, specifically those linked to the PKK.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom condemned the attack in Ankara, saying on Sunday that he was “appalled by the suicide bombing,” and that his country “stands firm in its long-term commitment and partnership with Turkiye to fight all kinds of terrorism.”