A senior US official has accused Turkey of pulling a bait-and-switch by using a recent anti-Islamic State agreement with the US as a “hook” to attack the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq, The Wall Street Journal reports.
“It’s clear that ISIL was a hook,” the senior military official told The Journal, referring to the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, or Daesh).
“Turkey wanted to move against the PKK, but it needed a hook.”
On Tuesday, an American military source told Fox News that US military leaders were “outraged” when Turkey began its bombing campaign, giving US special forces stationed in northern Iraq virtually no warning before Turkish jets started striking the mountains.
“A Turkish officer entered the allied headquarters in the air war against ISIS and announced that the strike would begin in 10 minutes and he needed all allied jets flying above Iraq to move south of Mosul immediately,” the source said. “We were outraged.”
The confrontation highlights the tension growing between the US and Turkey, which became a reluctant ally in the fight against ISIS after years of turning a blind eye to the militants’ illicit activity on its southern border during the Syrian civil war.
Ankara officially joined the coalition fight against ISIS on July 24, striking ISIS (and the PKK) on the same day. It also recently began allowing the US to use the Incirlik airbase in Turkey to carry out strikes against ISIS.