Ankara aims to prevent PKK terrorists from infiltrating the country from Iraq and establishing a terror corridor.

Turkish government officials have published a series of videos clearly explaining why their armed forces have launched operations against terrorist groups in northern Iraq.

Since June, troops have been involved in two major operations, Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle, against PKK terrorists who use the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq to sneak into Turkey and carry out terrorist attacks.

PKK terrorists often launch attacks before returning to northern Iraq - an area they are trying to turn into a safe haven.

During a more than three-decade long terror campaign, the PKK has killed some 40,000 Turkish citizens, including security forces, and civilians, women, children, and infants.

Turkey has carried out similar operations to ensure the safety of its citizens and foreign nationals in both Iraq and Syria.

Notable campaigns include Operation Olive Branch in 2018, which liberated Syria’s Afrin region from PKK-affiliated YPG terrorists and Operation Euphrates Shield in 2017, which was also in Syria and saw Turkish troops and allied Syrian forces take on terrorists from both Daesh and the YPG.

During Operation Peace Spring in 2019, Turkish forces created a safety corridor along Syria’s border with Turkey, so that refugees could return to their country safe from regime, Daesh, and YPG attacks.

The threat posed by the YPG terrorists has been demonstrated by attacks on Syrian civilians in the region, including one that killed 21 people in Azaz, and another terrorist outrage in the city of Afrin during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which killed more than 40 people.

In the Afrin attack, YPG terrorists used a loaded fuel truck to attack civilians. The death toll included 11 children.

Local awareness

Local authorities were informed of the Turkish cross-border activity in Iraq to neutralise the PKK terror threat, according to Turkish officials, who said both the Baghdad government and Kurdish regional authority were aware.

The Iraqi army, which has carried out large scale operations against Daesh, has not taken similar action to reduce the PKK terror group’s hold within some parts of northern Iraq.

Having been devastated by the Turkish armed forces, the PKK is resorting to extreme measures to keep itself functioning, such as the use of child soldiers and kidnapping locals and forcing them to serve in its terrorist organisations.

Turkey has made use of the latest technology to ensure civilians are out of harm’s way, such as highly accurate armed UAVs and surveillance drones.

In June, Turkey Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We have dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terrorist organisation in northern Iraq.”

“I congratulate the armed forces personnel who successfully carried out the operation.”