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News > World

Kurds Condemn Turkey Attacks and Launch International Campaign

  • Protester set up barricades in Gazi neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, during anti-government protests July 27, 2015.

    Protester set up barricades in Gazi neighborhood in Istanbul, Turkey, during anti-government protests July 27, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 July 2015

Kurdish militants started a social media storm Monday, launching the hashtag #NATOStopErdogon.

Kurdish fighters in both Turkey and Syria have accused the Turkish army of deliberately bombing their positions and condemned the attacks.  

The accusations highlight Turkey's precarious position, as it simultaneously battles the Islamic State group in Syria as well as reigniting attacks against Kurds in Turkey itself.

Over the weekend, Turkish forces launched several airstrikes on Kurdish positions in both northern Iraq and Syria, in what the government claims were actions to, in fact, weaken the Islamic State group.

The Turkish government has recently entered the battle against the Islamic State group, the militant group terrorizing large parts of Iraq and Syria, after months of refusing to get involved. After the Islamic State group launched an attack within Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the opportunity to declare a “full-fledged battle against all terrorist organizations.”

However, the recent military operations against Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria – as well as renewing a conflict against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in its own country – has raised suspicions that Turkey's greater priority is to undermine Kurdish movements for greater autonomy.

These suspicions were exacerbated Monday, after it was revealed that Turkey and the United States army would work together to create an “Islamic State-free zone” in northern Syria – an area that is largely controlled by the Kurdistan People's Protection Unit (YPG). Kurdish fighters, such as the YPG, are adamantly opposed to Turkish military intervention in this region, according to numerous reports.

The Turkish government has since called on NATO member states to attend an emergency meeting to discuss security issues with Ankara. The meeting will be held Tuesday. 

Kurdish fighters have voiced their disagreement with NATO coming to Turkey's aid, concerned that the extra military force will be used against the Kurdish movement.   

Monday, Kurdish groups launched a major social media campaign telling NATO troops not to attend Tuesday's meeting. Launching the hashtag #NATOStopErdogon, Kurdish groups and supporters flooded Twitter and Facebook with messages telling NATO not to support the Turkish government.

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