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Turkey air strikes 'changing game'

July 27, 2015 6:12 pm

Turkey’s air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants and Kurdish PKK separatists could “change the regional game”, the prime minister has said.

Ahmet Davutoglu said there were no plans to send ground troops into Syria and that air strikes were meant to support moderate rebels fighting IS.

On Sunday, Turkish jets again attacked PKK camps in northern Iraq.

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NATO is to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation, at Turkey’s request.

The week that changed Turkey

Monday: 32 people volunteering to rebuild Kobane are killed by IS-linked militants in Suruc

Thursday: IS forces shoot dead a Turkish border guard

Meanwhile, the PKK reportedly kills two Turkish police officers in retaliation for Suruc and what they see as Turkey’s collaboration with IS

Friday: Hundreds of suspected IS supporters are arrested and properties are searched; Turkish F-16 jets, based in Diyarbakir, bomb three IS targets in Syria

Saturday: Turkey strikes IS and PKK targets in Syria and Iraq; the PKK says the conditions are no longer in place to observe ceasefire

Mr Davutoglu told a meeting of Turkish newspaper editors that, following Turkey’s military action, there were now “new conditions” in the regional conflict.

“The presence of a Turkey that can use its force effectively can lead to consequences which can change the game in Syria, Iraq and the entire region; everyone should see that,” the Hurriyet Daily News quoted him as saying.

He said other states now needed to “assess… and review their own position accordingly”.

Mr Davutoglu said Turkey was prepared to work with the Syrian Kurdish PYD group – which has links to the PKK – provided it did not pose a threat to Turkey and severed relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey launched air strikes against IS targets in Syria and against PKK camps in northern Iraq following recent attacks.

In a suicide attack blamed on IS, 32 people died in in the Kurdish-majority city of Suruc near the Syrian border on 20 July.

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