Turkey strikes Kurdish militants with air strikes, days after the bombing of Istanbul

Turkey targeted Kurdish militants in northern Syria and Iraq with a series of air strikes on Sunday, days after a bomb attack killed six people in Istanbul.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement that the attacks targeted military bases of the PKK and the Syrian People’s Protection Units.

“The shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels and warehouses belonging to the terrorists were destroyed with great success,” Akar said. He added, “The alleged headquarters of the terrorist organization was also bombed, destroyed, and had direct casualties.”

A view shows the aftermath of the airstrikes, which the Turkish Defense Ministry says it carried out, in Derik, Syria, November 20, 2022.
(North Press Agency/Handout via Reuters)

Citizens inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that targeted a power station in the village of Naql Baqil in the Syrian province of Hasakah, Sunday, November 20, 2022.

Citizens inspect a site damaged by Turkish airstrikes that targeted a power station in the village of Naql Baqil in the Syrian province of Hasakah, Sunday, November 20, 2022.
(AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

Turkish officials blamed the Istanbul bombing, which killed six people and wounded dozens last Sunday, on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units. Both groups denied involvement.

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“It’s time for independence,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter, referring to the road where the bombing took place.

The Bulgarian Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested five people involved in the bombing – three men of Moldovan origin, as well as a man and woman of Syrian Kurdish origin, according to Reuters.

People leave the area after an explosion on Istanbul's famous Istiklal Street on Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.

People leave the area after an explosion on Istanbul’s famous Istiklal Street on Sunday, Istanbul, Sunday, November 13, 2022.
(Ismail Coskun/IHA via AP)

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The PKK, which has been fighting an insurgency in Turkey since 1984, is considered a terrorist group by both Turkey and the United States, despite the United States’ alliance with the YPG in the fight against ISIS in Syria.

“We are determined, determined and capable of saving our country and our nation from the scourge of terrorism that has plagued our country and nation for 40 years,” Akar said on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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