Sunday 22 April 2018

Kurdish rebels targeted in Turkish airstrikes

A missile-loaded Turkish air force warplane takes off from the Incirlik airbase (AP)
A missile-loaded Turkish air force warplane takes off from the Incirlik airbase (AP)

Turkish jets hit Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq in a new raid against a separatist group, authorities have said.

The military operation came as Turkey's opposition pro-Kurdish party called for an immediate end to the violence and the resumption of peace efforts.

The warplanes pounded about half a dozen positions overnight, including shelters and storage facilities, belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, a government statement said. Locations included the group's mountainous stronghold in Qandil.

Turkish jets have been attacking rebel positions in Iraq and in south-east Turkey in an escalation of tensions that has left an already fragile peace process with the Kurds in shatters.

The airstrikes came after the rebels claimed responsibility for the killing of two policemen.

Kurdish activists have held the government responsible for a suicide bombing - blamed on the Islamic State (IS) group - accusing it of not doing enough to stop the extremists' activities.

Turkish jets have also attacked extremists in Syria following the suicide bombing.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party, called for the peace process to resume as parliament prepared to hold an extraordinary session - possibly behind closed doors - to discuss the attacks by the rebels and the IS group, and Turkey's response.

"We need to immediately create the conditions for an immediate return to the environment of truce and to the process of dialogue," Mr Demirtas said.

His call came at the same time that a prosecutor demanded that Mr Demirtas' parliamentary immunity be lifted so that he can be prosecuted for insulting Turkey's ruling party.

The prosecutor petitioned parliament a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a call for prosecutors to act against Kurdish party leaders for alleged links to the outlawed PKK.

Press Association

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