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Turkey says all PKK-linked groups 'legitimate target' in Iraq and Syria

Following PKK attack in Ankara, Turkish foreign minister promises to step up retaliation against Kurdish group
Protesters raise yellow flags and portraits showing the face of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) -- jailed in Turkey since 1999 -- during a demonstration calling for his release, in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria on February 15, 2023 (AFP)
Protesters call for the release of Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the PKK, in the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in northeastern Syria, on 15 February 2023 (AFP)

Turkey's foreign minister warned on Wednesday that all groups linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Syria and Iraq are now "legitimate targets", in the wake of an attack on Ankara by the militant group.

Two men carried out a suicide bomb attack in the Turkish capital on Sunday, losing their own lives and wounding police officers near government buildings.

The attack was later claimed by the PKK, who have fought a guerilla war with Turkey since 1984 for Kurdish autonomy.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told reporters that Turkish intelligence had determined that those responsible had been trained in northern Syria, much of which is controlled by the People's Protection Units (YPG), a group Turkey accuses of being an extension of the PKK.

"As a result of the work of our security forces, it has become clear that two terrorists came from Syria and were trained here," said Fidan.

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“From now on, all infrastructure, superstructure facilities and energy facilities belonging to PKK/YPG in Iraq and Syria are the legitimate target of our security forces.”

Ankara launched a series of air strikes against suspected PKK targets following the attack.

Turkey has been expanding its operations against the PKK in Iraq and Syria in recent years. Air strikes in northern Iraq, known as a base of PKK operations, have provoked outcry over the high civilian death toll involved.

On Wednesday, members of the YPG-affiliated security services reported that Turkey had struck a number of civilian substructures in the Syrian city of Hasakah.

According to the PKK-linked ANF news agency, the bombardment resulted in four civilian injuries.

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