As part of the “Tiger Claws” operation, Turkey deployed its special forces to northern Iraq on Wednesday. Ankara, targeting the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party, justifies its action by the “recently increased attack on Turkish police stations and military bases”.
Turkey announced Wednesday (June 17) the deployment of special forces in northern Iraq as part of a ground operation against rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with support from its aviation and artillery.
“Operation” Claws of the Tiger “has begun. Our special forces heroes are in Haftanin,” Hulusi Akar, Turkish Defense Ministry, said on Twitter, without specifying the number of deployed soldiers.
# Pençe-Kaplan Operasyonu başladı.
Kahraman Komandolarımız Haftanin’de! 🇹🇷
– Hulusi Akar (@tchulusiakar) June 16, 2020
“Our command, supported by combat helicopters and drones, has been transported by our air forces,” he added.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense justified the commencement of the operation of the “recently increased attack on our police stations and our military bases” located near the Iraqi border. He added that the military deployment was preceded by intensive artillery bombardment.
Ankara strikes in northern Iraq
The operation is likely to create friction between Ankara and Baghdad, which on Tuesday called the Turkish ambassador to protest strikes carried out by Turkish aviation at PKK’s positions in Iraq this week.
In fact, Turkey had announced that it was carrying out strikes night to Sunday through Monday in Kandil, Sinjar and Hakurk, places in northern Iraq.
Ankara regularly conducts air strikes against PKK’s rear bases in this neighboring country. The PKK, which has conducted bloody guerrillas on Turkish soil since 1984, is described as a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.