Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Turkey and Iraq’s Kurds: Erdogan sinks the claws of war in his collapsed country

Sunday 21/July/2019 - 02:48 PM
The Reference
Mahmoud Mohammadi

In a move to destroy shelters used by members of the PKK in northern Iraqi region of Hakurk, the Turkish ministry of defense announced last week that it launched a new military operation, dubbed Claw 2, against the Kurds in northern Iraq following the failure of Operation Claw 1 launched by Ankara in May.

Turkish raid

The operation launched a raid a few days ago included several air and artillery strikes; however, its objectives have not been achieved yet. Turkish forces received many of heavy blows following these attacks, the latest of which was the death of a Turkish soldier and wounding of six others during a security operation against PKK gunmen in northern Iraq, according to Turkish Ministry of Defense.

In this context, Turkish researcher Hoda Rizk said that Turkish military raids against the PKK would not stop, because killing each Turkish soldier means more operations.

Opposition to Erdogan

There are many crises that could currently ruin Turkey, said Turkish political writer and analyst Bakir Atajan, pointing out that Ankara is not ready to get into a new battle anywhere, especially with recent political and economic developments.

There is both domestic and foreign opposition standing in the way of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s moves, where the foreign opposition is represented by the US, Atajan explained, adding that the domestic opposition comes in the form of Turkey’s parliamentary parties after the loss of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in some major provinces, especially Istanbul.

In a research paper published by Turk Press, international relations researcher Ali Hussein Bakir explained that the deterioration of Turkish influence in northern Iraq has caused economic, security and also political damage to Turkey. The movement of intra-trade and the flow of Turkish goods have been affected by the inability of trucks to reach deep into Iraq. Turkish investment has also decreased in the country, where many companies operating have been affected by the deteriorating security situation. Turkey's energy bill has risen and Iraq is seen as a growing security threat.

Claw 2

Last week, the Turkish military launched what it described as the second phase of a security crackdown called Operation Claw 2 in northern Iraq. The operation began for the first time on May 27 in Hakurk, targeting the PKK with artillery and aerial bombardment, as well as Special Forces.

PKK are active in northern Iraq, especially in the Qandil area south of Hakurk. Ankara said the operation was aimed at destroying shelters and caves used by the PKK in order to neutralize its members.

Turkey has launched frequent air strikes on the region, but the ongoing push included bombardment and ground operations. The Ministry of Defense said two PKK elements were killed in air strikes in northern Iraq on Friday during a separate operation.

The PKK started a rebellion in southeastern Turkey, which is predominantly Kurdish, in 1984; about 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. Ankara, the US and European Union have labeled the PKK as a terrorist organization.