Turkish Defence Minister Yaşar Güler travelled to the Iraqi border in the wake of recent deadly clashes between Turkish forces and guerilla fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that claimed the lives of 12 Turkish soldiers, as reported by the ministry.
The minister also directed operations from the air force operations centre before heading to the border in person, according to a statement posted on the defence ministry’s social media account.
There have been ongoing confrontations between Turkish forces and Kurdish guerrillas in several regions of Iraqi Kurdistan, including Zap, Avaşîn, Metîna and Xakûrkê. The Ministry of Defence reported six Turkish soldiers killed and seven wounded in fierce clashes on Friday, followed by another six soldiers killed and six more wounded on Saturday.
Güler asserted that ‘the organisation’s [PKK] mobility has been brought to the point of exhaustion’, adding that operations would continue without interruption. He announced that 25 PKK guerrillas had been “neutralised” in the clashes.
Contrary to Güler’s claims, the armed wing of the PKK, the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), reported on Sunday that a further 18 Turkish soldiers had been killed in clashes on Saturday night, according to the Kurdish news agency ANF. HPG had previously announced on Saturday that 36 Turkish soldiers had been killed along with three HPG guerrillas.
Turkey’s military actions against Kurdish guerrilla forces in northern Iraq have been ongoing since April 2022.