ISTANBUL, Turkey, Aug. 18 (UPI) — The Turkish military pounded Kurdish positions in northern Iraq with artillery and airstrikes, ending the bombardment early Thursday, officials said.
Army commanders said the attack was in response to a raid by the Kurdistan Workers Party, usually referred to by its acronym, PKK.
The New York Times reported. Nine members of the Turkish armed forces were killed and 15 injured in an ambush.
“Similar actions of the Turkish Armed Forces inside and outside the country will continue in a determined way until the north of Iraq would be turned into a secure residential area and the terror organization that uses the area as a launch pad for attacks would be eliminated,” a statement from army headquarters said.
About 20 million of Turkey’s 74 million residents are Kurds, primarily living in the southeast near the country’s borders with Iraq and Iran. The PKK’s fight for Kurdish independence has claimed 40,000 lives in the past three decades.
PKK attacks became more frequent in July when settlement efforts stalled. The government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to recognize the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, which is represented in parliament, calling it the PKK’s political wing.