Erdogan vows to 'finish' Kurdish militants in Iraq

Published: October 06, 2018 19:42:13 | Updated: October 09, 2018 12:55:37


-Reuters file photo

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to 'finish' Kurdish militants in Iraq’s Sinjar and Qandil regions to avenge eight Turkish soldiers killed in a bomb attack in south-eastern Turkey earlier this week.

On Wednesday, eight Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded after a roadside bomb in the south-eastern province of Batman was detonated by outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, reports Reuters.

Speaking to members of his ruling AK Party at the start of a two-day summit in the outskirts of Ankara on Saturday, Erdogan said the PKK would pay the price for the eight soldiers.

“Do we have eight martyrs? Then let those terrorists know that they will pay the price for this with at least 800,” he said.

“We will finish them by going into their dens, their holes. We will end them in Sinjar and in Qandil,” Erdogan said.

The comments marked Erdogan’s strongest warning of a potential offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq in recent weeks.

Turkey has in recent months carried out strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq, especially its stronghold in the Qandil mountains, but warnings of a ground offensive into the area had largely died down following the June elections.

The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, has waged an insurgency against the state since Turkish the 1980s.

Violence in the largely Kurdish southeast has worsened since the collapse of a ceasefire in 2015 and the government has carried out widespread operations to capture the militants in Turkey as well.

Over the past two days, Turkish authorities have detained 137 people over suspected links to the PKK in operations across the nation, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.

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