SINCE TURKEY JOINED THE U.S.-LED COALITION to fight ISIS, its military actions have struck far more Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) targets than ISIS targets, leading many to suspect that the government is using ISIS as an excuse to reignite the civil war against the PKK and intimidate the Kurdish population.
Critics argue, further, that Turkey’s failures to combat ISIS are calculated, given the Islamic State’s repeated attacks on Kurdish targets, such as the Suruc bombing last July and the Ankara bombing last month.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated his anti-PKK rhetoric last week, saying on Wednesday, “Turkey will continue its fight against Kurdish insurgents until every last militant is liquidated,” in his first major presidential address since his Justice and Development Party (AKP) won reelection on November 1. The announcement led to an almost immediate end to a monthlong ceasefire, igniting deadly clashes that have killed almost 200 since last week alone.
On Monday, clashes broke out in the Turkish city of Cizre when PKK fighters bombed a hospital, heavily damaging the facility and forcing the evacuation of 30 patients during the most recent wave of violence in the southeastern region of the country.