The PKK is believed to have killed 24 Turkish soldiers, and the Turkish government is threatening massive retaliation.
Turkey launched air and ground assaults on Kurdish militants in Iraq on Wednesday, vowing to take "great revenge" after 24 Turkish soldiers were killed in one of the deadliest Kurdish attacks in decades.These repeated incursions have continued to increase a body count, but the world doesn't even bother with shrugging its shoulders over this situation. It involves two sovereign nations and a nationalist group that seeks its own country on portions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The Turkey-Iraq border is all too frequently crossed by Turkey to go after the Kurdish group, PKK.
Security officials said about 100 fighters from the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, mounted simultaneous attacks on seven remote army outposts in Cukurca and Yuksekova districts of Hakkari province, on the rugged southeastern border with Iraq.
The PKK, which has bases in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, did not immediately claim responsibility. But the fighting, in which Turkey said it killed 15 Kurdish militants after the initial assault, threatened wider instability at a time of upheaval in nearby Syria and for U.S. forces in Iraq.
Turkish security sources said commandos pushed up to 8 km (5 miles) into Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish fighters and warplanes struck targets around a guerrilla camp on the Zap river in the autonomous Iraqi region of Kurdistan.
"No one should forget this. Those that inflict this pain on us will endure far greater pain," Turkish President Abdullah Gul told reporters in Istanbul.
"Those that think they will weaken our state with these attacks or think they will bring our state into line, they will see that the revenge for these attacks will be very great and they will endure it many times over."
Twenty-four soldiers were killed and 18 wounded in the attacks, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said at a televised news conference in which he said wide-ranging operations, including hot pursuit missions, had been launched.
The fighting has left more than 40,000 dead on both sides of the border, and Kurds make up about 20% of Turkey's population. The PKK has modified its demands over the years and now seeks more reforms and greater liberties and more rights, but the Turkish government has rebuffed such efforts.
Yet the hypocrisy over the silence on the Turkish actions is multiplied by the fact that Turkey and other countries will wail and holler when Israel goes after Palestinian terrorists in Gaza or disputed territories on the West Bank. The two situations could not be more alike in general principle (both Kurdish and Palestinians groups seek statehood on part or all of territory of a sovereign nation and both engage in terror attacks to further their agendas), but the diplomatic response could not be more different.
Whereas the Turkish government is rarely rebuked in public, let alone by the United Nations, the Israeli government is continually put on the defensive at the United Nations for a fraction of the grievances committed by the Turkish governments over the decades. It's a double standard that continues to this day.