Erdoğan vows to destroy PKK after attack on Turkish military post in N.Iraq

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday vowed to destroy the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) following an attack on a Turkish military facility in Iraq’s northern province of Duhok, independent news site T24 said. 

''They tried to do something wrong in Iraq again. Our planes, our UAVs took off and they were forced to disperse. From now on we're going to strike at them in their holes,'' Erdoğan said in a speech in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

Erdoğan's statements follow those of the Turkish Defense Ministry which on Saturday said the attack on the military facility took place as a result of ''PKK provocation,'' noting damage to military vehicles and equipment.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Prime Minister of the northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani on Saturday discussed the attack on Turkish military base, state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing diplomatic sources.

The prime minister of the KRG said all measures were taken and an investigation was launched after the attack, the agency reported.

At least one person died after protesters stormed a Turkish military facility in the town in Iraq’s northern province of Duhok, Kurdish news outlet NRT TV reported, citing a statement from the Amedi Health Directorate.

There are also a number of injuries, according to NRT, with several vehicles and tents set ablaze as Kurdish security forces attempt to disperse the protesters.

This is the first time protests are taking place against the Turkish military in  the Kurdistan Regional Government ‘s (KRG) Duhok province, where Ankara maintains a couple of dozen military bases, according to Abdulla Hawez, an independent Kurdish affairs analyst.

Following its military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Kurdish armed groups in Syria, Turkey in March of 2018 extended its military presence in northern Iraq. Turkish armed forces have made their way 30 kilometres inside Iraq-Kurdish territory and have begun construction of permanent outposts, including those in rural areas of Dohuk and Erbil under the control of the KRG.

The PKK is an armed group at war in Turkey for Kurdish autonomy for over three decades. The group is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. 

Turkey intermittently carries out airstrikes against suspected PKK positions in the Kurdistan region.

Erdoğan threatened to launch a ground offensive in northern Iraq in 2018 and has announced an imminent operation against a Kurdish militia in neighbouring Syria.