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Turkey – Renewed anti-PKK operation will aim to boost President’s popularity


  • Renewed anti-PKK operation will aim to boost President’s popularity, though more significant ground offensive in Iraq remains unlikely
  • Airstrikes in Iraq will prompt increase in risk of militant attacks on government interests in southeast, though threat to Istanbul and Ankara remains low
  • Further arbitrary arrests of opposition figures highly likely as Erdogan looks to undermine opposition’s ability to capitalise on economic weaknesses


Turkish forces conducted at least 81 airstrikes in northern Iraq on 14 June as part of a new offensive to undermine the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) named operation Claw-Eagle. Three days later Ankara announced a second phase of the offensive – operation Claw-Tiger – which included a limited special forces ground operation against suspected PKK strongholds in the Qandil mountains. The move was condemned later that day by Baghdad, which criticised Ankara for violating Iraqi sovereignty. Separately on 15 June, Turkish police in the northwestern city of Edirne used teargas and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators marching in support of the Kurdish-dominated Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). This came ahead of six days of planned HDP demonstrations ending in Ankara on 22 June to protest the dismissal of two HDP politicians by parliament on 5 June.

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