Turkey bombs Kurdish PKK fighters near Iraq border

Kurds in Turkey are already outraged that Turkey has done nothing to stop the Islamic State advance into the Kurdish border town of Kobane. Kurds wanting to cross over to join the battle have also been prevented from doing so.

Turkish warplanes today bombed Kurdistan Worker's Party(PKK) fighters near the border with Iraq. Turkish authorities claim that the attacks were in retaliation for a PKK shelling of a military base nearby. The PKK claims the bombing was a violation of the ceasefire between the group and the Turkish military. There has been conflict between the Turkish military and the PKK for decades. The PKK leader, who has been in jail for some time, warned that the peace process between the group and the Turkish military was already coming apart due to the Turkish inaction against the Islamic State advances into Kurdish-held Syrian territory.
 The BBC reports that F-16 and F-4 warplanes were used in the raid. This is the first major raid on the PKK since March 2013. PKK fighters have been aiding the Kurdish YPG militia against the Islamic State. Turkey refuses to supply the fighters with weapons or even let them cross the border to join the fray.
 The U.S. has been launching air strikes against the Islamic State positions in Kobane. The Turks also arrested a total of 260 YPG fighters when they crossed into Turkey last week but allowed 60 to return over the border. The French president pleaded with Turkey to open its borders.
 Last week there were huge Kurdish protests in the south-eastern provinces of Turkey where Kurds are a majority. There were at least 31 people killed as Kurds vented their anger at Turkish inaction against the IS advance in Syria. The PKK is regarded by the US, the EU and Turkey as a terrorist organization.
 However, Abdullah Ocalan the jailed leader of the PKK has changed his position on armed struggle and has cooperated with the authorities in negotiating a cease fire and dialogue to end the long conflict. With Turkey's recent inaction against the Islamic State to protect Kurds violent conflict could easily break out again. The conflict has lasted about 30 years and resulted in more than 40,000 deaths. Kurdish unrest spread to at least six cities recently with at least nine more deaths according to the BBC.
In three weeks of fighting around Kobane 400 are reported killed. 160,000 Syrians have fled the area. Sustained US air strikes on Tuesday appear to have halted the Islamic State advance. Defenders inside Kobane are calling for even more US air strikes. They do not want the Turkish military to intervene but they do want Turkey to allow Kurdish fighters to cross from Turkey into Syria to help win the battle but so far there is no sign that Turkey will allow this.


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