Yüksekova, in Turkey's Hakkari Province, after clashes between the Turkish military and PKK, June 17, 2016. (Nedim Yılmaz/Wikimedia Commons)

Turkish Soldier Killed in Clashes with PKK in Northern Iraq

A Turkish soldier was killed in northern Iraq during clashes with the PKK, which has waged a decades-long insurgency in southwest Turkey with a view to gaining autonomy. It comes just days after another Turkish soldier was killed and two others were injured after they came under cross-border fire from Iran. Ankara two weeks ago launched “Operation Claw-Tiger,” its first-ever comprehensive aerial and ground attack in Iraq against the PKK, formally known as Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Turkey along with many of its Western allies have designated the PKK a terrorist organization. The move has nevertheless raised global concern and drawn the ire of Baghdad, which summoned the Turkish ambassador twice in protest of the mission. Kurdish officials say at least five civilians have been killed in the ongoing fighting. The offensive is being construed as an extension of a new aggressive posture by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has also green-lighted Turkey’s military intervention in Syria and Libya. Meanwhile, tension between Ankara, on the one hand, and Greece and Cyprus, on the other, have also reached a boiling point due to competing maritime claims in the natural gas-rich Eastern Mediterranean.

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