Nice Turkey is now attacking our ally the Kurds, the only ones fighting against ISIS.. ed
“We have given instructions for a third series of strikes in Syria and Iraq. Air and ground operations are under way,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara.
“No one should doubt out determination,” he added. “We will not allow Turkey to be turned into a lawless country.”
Turkey had early Saturday carried out a second wave of the air strikes it says are aimed at extinguishing terror threats, this time hitting not just ISIS targets in Syria but also Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq.
The strikes against PKK targets are likely to be a major blow to the stalled Kurdish peace process.
In a statement posted on the PKK website on Saturday, the group said truce with turkey has “no meaning anymore” after last night’s military attacks.
Fighter jets hit PKK targets in several locations in northern Iraq, including warehouses, “logistic points,” living quarters and storage buildings, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s office said.
The outlawed PKK, deemed a terrorist organization by Ankara and Washington, has waged a three-decade insurgency against Turkey for greater Kurdish autonomy.
First airstrikes in Syria
Along with the strikes in Iraq, Turkey launched its first-ever air attack against ISIS targets in Syria early on Friday, promising more decisive action against both the militant and Kurdish militants.
Turkey stepped up its role in the U.S.-led coalition against the militant group ISIS on Friday. As well as launching its first air strikes against the hardliners in Syria, it promised to open up its air bases to the United States.
In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council, Turkey justified its decision to conduct air strikes in Syria against ISIS militants claiming the Syrian government was neither capable nor willing to tackle the radical Islamist group.
Turkey’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Levent Eler cited Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which covers an individual or collective right to self-defense against armed attack, as justification for its action.
“It is apparent that the regime in Syria is neither capable of nor willing to prevent these threats emanating from its territory which clearly imperil the security of Turkey and safety of its nationals,” he wrote in the letter, seen by Reuters.
“Syria has become a safe haven for (ISIS). This area is used by (ISIS) for training, planning, financing and carrying out attacks across borders,” he added.
Raids on ISIS, PKK affiliates
Police also detained 590 suspected ISIS and PKK members in a crack down on Friday, Davutoglu said after vowing to fight all “terrorist groups” equally.
Turkey’s more active role comes after a suspected ISIS suicide bomber killed 32 people, some of them Kurds, this week in the border town of Suruc. That touched off a wave of violence in the mainly Kurdish southeast, with the PKK killing at least two police officers, calling it retaliation for the suicide bombing.
Many Kurds and opposition supporters have suspected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing ISIS against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.
Separately, the Istanbul authorities on Saturday banned a planned anti-militant “peace march” scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropolis this weekend, citing security and traffic congestion.
The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has hoped to rally thousands on Sunday for the protest to condemn violence by ISIS militants following a suicide bombing on Monday that killed 32.
But the Istanbul governor’s office said in a statement that the rally had been banned due to “intense traffic” expected in the city and also “provocations” endangering security.
The HDP confirmed in a statement that it had been forced to cancel the rally but vowed that “our struggle for peace and democracy will continue.”
Erdogan took a big political risk in starting peace talks in 2012 with the Kurds, who represent nearly 20 percent of Turkey’s population, but they now blame him for backtracking on promises.
On Friday, Erdogan said he had told U.S. President Barack Obama that the PKK, which he calls a separatist organization, would be a focus for attacks.