More than 700 arrests after the attack in northern Iraq.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking a “sharp action” against Turkish Kurds and alleged sympathizers of the banned PKK. On Monday, the police arrested more than 700 people in 40 cities for alleged contacts with banned Kurdish activists. The Ministry of the Interior in Ankara announced that among those arrested were leaders of the pro-Kurdish HDP party.
The HDP is the second largest Turkish opposition party.
The 718 people arrested are charged with connections to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The government in Ankara accused the PKK on Sunday of “executing” 13 Turks held captive in northern Iraq.
The PKK rejected this and stated that the 13 Turks were killed in a Turkish bomb attack in Iraq. Most of those killed were soldiers and police officers who had been kidnapped by the PKK in 2015 and 2016.
Tensions between Ankara and Washington
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described a US statement in front of supporters of his AK party as a “joke”. After the incident, the United States said it regretted the killing of Turkish citizens in the Kurdish area in Iraq. If reports of PKK responsibility prove correct, the US would condemn them. Erdogan said the statement shows that the US supports the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG.
The Turkish leadership sees the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK.
Erdogan forbids criticism of military operations in Iraq and Syria. After the “bloodbath”, neither a country, person or institution could “question, criticize and oppose Turkey’s operations in Iraq and Syria,” said Erdogan in a speech in the Black Sea province of Rize. His country will continue to take action against the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK.
The “terrorists” are not safe in northern Iraq or Syria.
According to the Turkish government, the military began an operation against the PKK on February 10 in the northern Iraqi region of Gara, around 35 kilometers from the Turkish-Iraqi border.
The aim was therefore to secure the border and find kidnapped citizens.
The PKK had stated that some prisoners had been killed in the fighting and that it had not injured them, let alone executed them.
(AFP / DPA / Reuters)