Turkey Claims Killing 770 Kurdish Militants in a Month

August 21, 2015  

Turkey has killed at least 770 Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey over the last month as part of a brutal crackdown, reports the state-run Anadolu Agency on Friday.

While the figures could not be independently confirmed, the paper said among the dead were 430 militants killed in airstrikes on PKK camps in northern Iraq, with another 260 killed in ground operations in Turkey.

The paper cited Turkish intelligence sources in announcing the figures.

Turkey’s crackdown on Kurdish forces and collapse of the ongoing peace talks with the PKK came after a massive suicide bombing on July 20 in the border town of Suruc, which killed at least 30 Kurds and which Ankara blamed on Islamic State (ISIS).

Several following incidents of PKK militants attacking Turkish police – given that Turkey has been shown to have cooperated with ISIS – set off the harsh crackdown.

The operation is viewed as being at least partially political in nature, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP party tries to make up for its weak showing in elections against its pro-Kurdish opponents. After coalition talks failed, repeat elections are apparently to be held.

The suicide bombing sparked a much more muted and less brutal crackdown by Turkey against ISIS as well, with several arrests and airstrikes.

That campaign has evidently raised the ire of ISIS, which called to “conquer Istanbul” in a recent video.

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