Turkey says all Kurdish facilities in Syria and Iraq are valid military targets after it finds the two attackers who detonated a bomb in front of government buildings in Ankara at the weekend had come from Syria.
Turkey’s military conducted air strikes in northern Iraq and staged several raids across the country this week in response to the attack, detaining dozens of suspects with alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a “terrorist group” by Turkey and its Western allies.
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The Turkish government convened a national security meeting on Wednesday to prepare its response to Sunday’s attack.
Turkish police shot dead one of the attackers while the other died in an apparent suicide blast outside the Ministry of the Interior. Two policemen were injured.
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Wednesday said the attackers had entered Turkey through Syria and received training there, adding that the Turkish response would be “very precise”.
“All infrastructure, superstructure and energy facilities that belong to the PKK and the YPG, especially in Iraq and Syria, are legitimate targets of our security forces, armed forces and intelligence units from now on,” he said.
Turkey has carried out cross-border incursions into northern Syria in recent years, targeting the YPG militia, which it sees as an affiliate of the PKK, which is now based in northern Iraq.
The YPG is also a key ally of the United States-led coalition fighting ISIL (ISIS). Support for the YPG by the US and other allies, including France, has strained ties with Ankara.
“I recommend from here that third parties stay away from the facilities and people belonging to the PKK and the YPG,” Fidan said in an apparent reference to US, Russian and French troops in the region.
Iraqi Defence Minister Thabet al-Abbasi arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, Iraqi state news agency (INA) said, and Turkish media said he would meet his Turkish counterpart, Yasar Guler. Iraq has denounced Ankara’s air strikes this week, and has repeatedly expressed public opposition to the Turkish military presence in the country.