Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present)

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Kurdish–Turkish conflict (2015–present)
Part of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present) and the Spillover of the Syrian Civil War
Turkish-PKK rebellion.svg
Military situation in January 2016:
     Republic of Turkey      PKK (and allies) influence
Date24 July 2015 – present
(3 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 4 days)
Status Ongoing

Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK)



Kurdistan Freedom Hawks
Commanders and leaders
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Hulusi Akar (from 18 August 2015)
Necdet Özel (until 18 August 2015)

Murat Karayılan
Bahoz Erdal
Cemil Bayık

Hülya Eroğlu[2]   (senior council member)
Units involved

Turkish Armed Forces

Turkish National Police

Village Guards

Other forces:
Grey Wolves[3]

Some Kurdish tribes[4][5][6]




Around 10,000 Turkish police and military personnel[7]
360,000 active military personnel[8]
244,000 Police forces[9][10]
(2015 figures, of which not all are directly involved)
233,000 Security Guards[9]

65,000 Village Guards[5][11]
Casualties and losses

1,166 security forces killed (per the Crisis Group)[14]
991 security forces killed (Turkish claim; as of May 2019)[15]

7,183–9,327 security forces killed (PKK claim; as of Jan. 2017)[16][17][18][19]

2,544 militants killed (per the Crisis Group)[14]
7,071 militants killed and 3,020 captured (Turkish claim; as of April 2019)[20]

1,181 militants killed (PKK claim; as of Jan. 2017)[16][17][19]

464 civilians killed (per the Crisis Group)[14]
223 unidentified killed (civilians or militants; per the Crisis Group)[14]
378 civilians killed (Turkish claim)[21]
500–1,000 civilians killed (HDP claim)[22]
2,000 killed in total (UN claim; as of March 2017)[23]

500,000 displaced[24]

In late July 2015, the third phase of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict between various Kurdish insurgent groups and the Turkish government erupted following a failed two and a half year-long peace process, aimed at resolving the long-running conflict.

The conflict between Turkey and the PKK broke out in summer 2015 following a two-year-long peace negotiations, which began in late 2012, but failed to progress in light of the growing tensions on border with Syria in late 2014, when Turkey prevented Kurds sending support to their militants who were fighting against ISIS during the Siege of Kobani. Turkey was accused of assisting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during the crisis,[25][26] resulting in widespread Kurdish riots in Turkey involving dozens of fatalities. The tensions further escalated in summer 2015 with the July 20 bombing in Suruç. On July 21, the PKK allegedly carried out a revenge attack and killed a Turkish soldier and wounded two more in Adıyaman.[27] Some PKK supporters then claimed responsibility for the July 23 killing of two Turkish police officers in Ceylanpinar,[28] describing it as a retaliation.[29] A week after, Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK) spokesman Demhat Agit denied official PKK involvement, saying "these are the units independent from the PKK. They are local forces which organized themselves and not affiliated with us."[30]

On 24 July 2015, Turkey announced an official military operation against PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava respectively, claiming to inflict dozens of fatalities on PKK fronts – which caused the PKK to withdraw from the peace talks and announce a full-scale rebellion against the government. The same day, Turkey also performed a nationwide crackdown on so-called PKK operatives, arresting hundreds, including Peoples' Democratic Party members and leaders. The conflict then escalated, with PKK and its affiliated militias staging attacks across the country, and Turkish forces attacks in the form of aerial bombardments and operations in the east of the country, including the Siege of Cizre in September 2015. In October 2015, the PKK declared a unilateral ceasefire for the November general elections.[31]

As of November 2015, Turkish authorities claimed that a number of towns and areas in Eastern Turkey had come under the control of the PKK rebels and affiliated armed organizations. According to the Turkish government sources, between July 2015 and May 2016, 2,583 Kurdish rebels were killed in Turkey and 2,366 in northern Iraq, while 483 were killed among Turkish security forces.[32] The PKK claimed 1,557 Turkish security forces were killed in 2015 during the clashes in North and South Kurdistan, while it lost 220 fighters.[33] According to the International Crisis Group, 4,226 people, including 465 civilians, were killed in Turkey between July 2015 and December 2018,[14] including ethnic Kurdish lawyer Tahir Elçi.[34] In March 2017, the United Nations remarks 'concern' over the Turkish government's operations and called for independent assessment for the alleged "massive destruction, killings and numerous other serious human rights violations" against the ethnic Kurdish minority.[35]



  • On 8 May, the PKK's armed wing HPG announced that Turkish UAVs are flying over PKK camps.[36]


  • On 9 June, the PKK reported several operations by the Turkish army against their troops.[37]

2015 timeline[edit]

Leyla İmret, a former mayor of Cizre, and German politician Cem Özdemir, 15 September 2015


Suruç bombing and suspected Turkish ISIL retaliations[edit]

On 20 July 2015, a bombing in the predominantly Kurdish district of Suruç, allegedly perpetrated by the Dokumacılar group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), killed 32 young activists and injured over 100. Most victims were members of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) Youth Wing and the Socialist Youth Associations Federation (SGDF), university-aged students who were giving a press statement on their planned trip to reconstruct the Syrian border town of Kobanî in the de facto autonomous Federation of Northern Syria - Rojava.[38][39]

  • On 21 July, the Turkish authorities claimed that the PKK's military wing has killed a Turkish soldier and wounded two more in Adıyaman, in retaliation for Suruc and what they claim was Turkey's collaboration with ISIL.[40]
  • On 22 July, in Ceylanpinar (Turkey), two policemen were shot in the head by gunmen in their sleep.[41][42] A week later, however, KCK spokesman Demhat Agit denied PKK involvement, saying "these are the units independent from the PKK. They are local forces which organized themselves and not affiliated with us", despite alleged claims that the PKK had previously claimed responsibility for the attack.[30][43]

Operation Martyr Yalçın against PKK[edit]

The July 21 and 22 attacks were proclaimed a casus belli by the Turkish government, which resulted in Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu taking the decision to begin active air operations against PKK positions in Iraq. This was internationally perceived as the end of the ceasefire period in the Kurdish-Turkish conflict.[44][45][46] The New York Times assessed that "the Iraq raids, which began late Friday and continued into Saturday, effectively ended an unstable two-year cease-fire between the Turkish government and the Kurdish militants, also known by the initials of their Kurdish name, PKK".[47]

  • On 24 July, members of the PKK abducted a policeman in the province of Diyarbakir. Additionally two police officers were injured, one with life-threatening injuries, after a suspected PKK grenade attack in Hakkari.[48]
  • On 25 July, two Turkish soldiers were killed and four were wounded in a car bomb attack in the province of Diyarbakir in Turkey by PKK fighters.[49][50]

Operations Arslan Kulaksız and Hamza Yıldırım[edit]

Turkish Forces on 26 July reportedly again attacked the same village west of Kobani targeting Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, and fired on a YPG vehicle west of Tell Abyad.[51]

  • On 26 July, it was reported that F-16s yet again took off from Diyarbakır, this time only targeting PKK targets in Northern Iraq. Although there was no official government statement on the airstrikes, PKK sources claimed that one of their key bases in Hakurk was attacked.[52] It was reported that the number of fighter jets taking part was significantly lower than the jets that took part in the previous waves of the operation.[53] The same day, Turkish artillery shelled a PKK position in the north of Iraq over several hours.[54]
  • On 27 July, in the province of Mus, a predominantly Kurdish area, the Turkish head of the gendarmerie of the Malazgirt district was killed.[55]
  • On 28 July, for the first time since the beginning of the operation, two Turkish F-16s bombed PKK fighters inside Turkey, in the province of Sirnak.[56]
  • On 28 July, the pipeline between Turkey and Iran was blown up in the province of Agri in Turkey, according to the authorities PKK involvement was suspected[57] while, in a predominantly Kurdish town a sergeant of the Turkish army was killed; according to the army, the PKK is responsible.[58] In another province, a police officer was kidnapped by suspected Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in southeastern Turkey.[59]
  • On 28–29 July, a new wave of shelling was launched on the night connecting the 28th and 29th, PKK camps in Zap, Metina, Gara, Avaşin-Basyan, Hakurk and the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq were hit by Turkish fighter jets in an operation named after the recently killed gendarmerie major, "Arslan Kulaksız".[60]
  • On 29 July, the oil pipeline between Kirkuk (Iraq) and Ceyhan (Turkey) was blown up in the east Turkey, in the Sirnak province[61] while in Hakkari, police quarters was under attack with heavy arms, including rocket launchers and long barrel rifles.[62] In an other attack, one soldier was killed and 4 other were wounded in an attack in the Doğubeyazıt district in the eastern province of Ağri.[63]
  • On 30 July, Turkish fighter jets flew over the YPG-held towns of Kobani and Sarrin at the same time as an ISIS attack on Sarrin town.[citation needed] On 31 July, Turkish reconnaissance aircraft once again flew over YPG territory in the north of Syria. While in Iraq, Turkish fighter jets shelling massively PKK positions.[64]
  • On 30 July, a policeman and a civilian were killed in the town of Cinar by PKK guerilla according to the authority,[65] while three soldiers were killed in the attack of their convoy by PKK fighters in the province of Sirnak.[66]
  • On 31 July, Turkish fighter jets shelled bases of PKK in the north of Iraq, with 30 warplanes were involved. This operation was named "Hamza Yıldırım" in honor of the Corporal Hamza Yıldırım killed by the PKK in Turkey few day earlier.[67]
  • On 31 July, two policemen and two PKK fighters were killed by the PKK, in a PKK raid on a police station in Pozanti, Adana. In a separate incident, PKK rebels bombed a railway line in the province of Kars in the country's east, killing a worker,[68][69] while three PKK fighters were killed in Agri province.[70]


  • On 1 August, two PKK fighters were killed and one civilian wounded in an attack in Çatak[71] while PKK fighters took 70 hostages for two hours in the Kars-Erzurum-Iğdır highway.[72] One soldier was killed in a mine explosion in Kars Province, reportedly by PKK.[73]
  • On 2 August, a suicide bomber attacked a military station in Doğubayazit, Ağrı Province. The attack resulted in the deaths of two Turkish soldiers and 31 injuries.[citation needed] Separately one soldier was killed and four injured after a military convoy hit a mine in the Mardin Province. Both attacks were blamed on the PKK.[68]
  • On 3 August, two Turkish soldiers were injured after a landmine exploded in Diyarbakir, reportedly by the PKK.[74]
  • On 4 August, PKK forces attacked a guard post in Şırnak Province with an RPG killing one soldier and injuring another. In a separate attack, a mine killed two soldiers, also in Şırnak Province resulting in Turkish F-16s targeting PKK camps in the country's Hakkarı Province, with no information on casualties.
  • On 5 August, a PKK bombing left one civilian dead in Cizre, Şırnak Province. Another bombing, this time in Bitlis, caused no casualties or damage. Clashes occurred, in Diyarbakır Province, Hakkari Province and Bitlis Province with no reported casualties.[75]
  • On 6 August, clashes were reported in Tunceli Province, with no reported casualties.[75]
  • On 7 August, PKK attacks left eight dead during numerous attacks. In Silopi, Şırnak Province, five were killed during clashes between Police and the PKK, resulting in the deaths of at least one soldier and one police officer. In Doğubayazıt, Ağrı Province, a PKK attack left one soldier and one militant dead. A PKK attack on a police patrol in Milyat, Mardin Province killed one police officer. Elsewhere clashes were reported in Cizre and Uludere, Şırnak Province, Başkale, Van Province and Nusaybin, Mardin Province. PKK militants were also reported to have hijacked a minibus near Beytüşşebap, Şırnak Province.[76][77]
  • On 10 August, 9 people were killed in a series of PKK attacks in Turkey. In İstanbul, a car bomb targeted a police station, injuring ten police officers, one police officer and two attackers were killed in subsequent clashes. Two others attackers launched an attack on the US consulate in Istanbul however there were no casualties, police arrest one of the attackers, a female, in clashes following the attack. In Silopi, Şırnak Province, a mine hit a police convoy killing four officers. In Beytüşşebap, Sirnak Province, militants opened fire on a military helicopter, killing one soldier.[78] Turkish security forces killed a female PKK fighter named Kevser Eltürk, took a picture of her body after they stripped her naked, and distributed the photo and they were congratulated by Turkish nationalists.[79][80][81]
  • On 13 August, three people were killed in PKK attacks, a gendarmerie sergeant was killed by a PKK landmine in Bingöl Province.[citation needed] Two PKK insurgents were killed in clashes in Beytüşşebap, Şırnak Province.[82]
  • On 14 August, 4 soldiers were killed in a series of PKK attacks. Three soldiers were killed and six injured during clashes with the PKK in Dağlıca, Hakkarı Province. A civilian was killed during clashes between Police and the PKK in Bağlar, Diyarbakır Province.[82]
  • On 19 August, 4 Turkish police officers were killed by a roadside bomb [83]


  • On 3 September, PKK killed 4 Turkish police officers in Mardin province.[84]
  • On September 5, the Turkish security forces besieged Cizre, in a one-week operation. The operations were reported to result in about 30 deaths among city's Kurdish residents.[85]
  • On 6 September, PKK killed 16 Turkish soldiers by a double bombing on a military convoy in Hakkari Province.[86]
  • On 8 September, PKK forces ambushed a Police minibus killing 14 officers. A second attack also resulted in the shooting and killing of a police officer by PKK forces.[86]
  • On 25 September, two Turkish soldiers were killed and nine injured during clashes with the PKK.[citation needed]
  • On 25–26 September, 34 Kurdish rebels, 4 civilians and 2 Turkish soldiers were killed in Şırnak Province. PKK sources claimed 14 Kurdish rebels and 75 Turkish Soldiers were killed.[87][88]

The Turkish police used "Armenian" as an insult to refer to the Kurdish people in Cizre and Burhan Kuzu, a senior adviser to the President of Turkey, claimed that PKK members were uncircumcised implying that they were non-Muslim Armenians, suggesting that non-Muslims are terrorists and trying to drive a wedge between "Muslim" Kurds and the PKK.[89]


  • On 2 October, the Turkish military entered the southeastern city of Silvan, in the Diyarbakır Province with tanks, armored carriers and hundreds of troops to seek out and destroy PKK elements within the city. Resulting clashes left at least 17 PKK militants dead while PKK affiliated locals alleged the Turkish military had bombed civilian areas with artillery.[90]
  • On 4 October, a video was released in which Hacı Lokman Birlik, a 24-year-old protester, was killed by Turkish security forces before his body was tied to a police car and dragged through the streets.[91] Some pro-government journalists and AKP members called the released video from the incident as a fake and photoshopped, while other Turkish newspapers, such as Sabah called it a "common routine against terrorists".[92] The pro-government, AKP Sabah newspaper defended the act and claimed that "dragging corpses by armored vehicles was standard procedure in case of a body being booby trapped with explosives which is relatively common for terrorists to do".[93] Haci Lokman Birlik was a brother in law of HDP MP Leyla Birlik who the government accused of being a PKK affiliate. Later, Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, said "it is not acceptable" and claimed that both officers who were responsible of dragging the body of Birlik were fired. However, the HDP released a statement stating that both officers haven't been fired and claims of Ahmet Davutoglu are not true.[94]
  • On 10 October, a double suicide bombing was carried out in Ankara during an anti-war demonstration rally held by pro-Kurdish, leftist and communist civilians. The bombing resulted in at least 102 killed amongst the demonstrators.


  • On 5 November, the Turkish military concluded the 40-day long 2015 Hakkari assault ground offensive in the mountains of the south-eastern border province in which hundreds of PKK fighters were killed, dozens of their bunkers were destroyed and dozens of anti-aircraft weaponry was captured.[95]
  • On 15 November, the Turkish Air Force bombarded 44 different locations with F-16s F-4E 2020 Terminators and unmanned drones in Northern Iraq in response to the PKK attempting to reconstruct depots, barracks, bunkers and hideouts that were destroyed earlier in the year by the air strikes conducted on the 31st of July.[96]
  • On 21 November, the Turkish Air Force struck 23 different locations in the Şırnak border province and in Northern Iraq destroying caches and hideouts severing PKK supply lines.[97] On Saturday these included supply and shelter points in the mountains of Semidinli, Hakkari, south-east Turkey, north of their Iraqi and Iranian borders.
  • On 22 November, the Turkish Air Force struck 7 different locations in the Hakkâri Province on the Iraqi border killing 10 PKK militants and destroying several shelters and supply points.[98] Two civilians were also killed during the curfew in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province on the Sunday in which on Monday 23rd entered its tenth consecutive day. The Turkish chief of General Staff earlier this year released a statement saying the Military is sensitive when it comes to civilian casualties who are caught up in armed clashes.[95][99]


  • On 2 December, PKK militants set a remote-controlled IED trap for a Turkish Army convoy, killing one soldier and injuring 9 others in the explosion in the Mardin Province.[100]
  • On 2 December, PKK militants launched an armed attack on a police checkpoint during an curfew in Sur injuring one officer and killing 3 PKK insurgents in the clash.[100]
  • On 8 December, the Turkish Air Force launched night-time airstrikes consisting of 10 F-16s into Northern Iraq's Kandil, Harkuk, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions.[101]
  • On 13 December, PKK militants launched 18 different explosive attacks on a police station in Dargeçit consisting of anti-armor RPG rockets and grenades injuring 3 police officers and 3 civilians just hours after counter-insurgency operation in the same town killed 11 militants.[102]
  • On 15 December, the Turkish Army and Police launched a massive scale terror hunt operation in Şırnak Province's towns of Cizre and Silopi imposing an initial 24-hour curfew to "prevent civilian casualties and maximize troop movement throughout the town." The HDP, Turkey's Kurdish and 2nd largest opposition party notably urged PKK militant elements to "resist" the operations. Traditionally focused on the countryside, the PKK has shifted to towns, setting up barricades and digging trenches to keep security forces away.
  • On 17 December, in 7 days Turkish Army troops joined alongside with Police Special Operations backed by tanks, armored vehicle units, and helicopters killed over 127 militants as-well as capturing at-least three wanted, high-value PKK leaders as of December 18. Security forces raided cleared abandoned houses and trenches, destroyed barricades while fighting through and liberating militant stronghold neighborhoods. In total, thousands of kilos of explosives and hundreds of assault weapons were seized. Tank shelling and artillery strikes in the surrounding mountains were also conducted along with the urban offensive that mainly focused on PKK housing, cut-off neighborhood strongholds and sniper positions targeting security forces. It is estimated half the towns population had been driven out since violence sparked-up earlier in the year leaving many unoccupied apartments and houses to be utilized by the PKK to fortify and reinforce their presence prior to this operation.[103][104][105][106][107][108][109][110][111]
  • On 18 December, the Turkish minister of the interior Efkan Ala declared over 3,000 PKK militant had been neutralized, 10 tons of explosives had been seized, and 2,240 weapons had been captured since the collapse of the ceasefire earlier that year in late July [112]
  • On 21 December, a roadside bomb in Bitlis killed 2 soldiers and injured 8 others during an anti-PKK operation.[113]
  • On 21 December, an armed PKK assault in Sur district of Diyarbakır killed 1 soldier during an Army curfew-reinforcement patrol put in place to let Police forces root out PKK hide-outs.[113]
  • On 30 December, 3 soldiers were wounded when PKK rebels detonated an IED bomb in Sur.[114]
  • On 31 December, 1 police officer was killed and 5 others were injured during a police operation to disassemble barricades and fill in ditches dug up by militants when PKK rebels fired a rocket upon security forces in Cizre. Four of the injured officers who were in urgent condition were sent to the capital, Ankara for further medical treatment.[114]
  • On 31 December, one police officer died after a PKK bomb attack in Sur during a house operation against rebels. In the same operation Turkish security forces had seized an RPG, 3 rockets, an anti-tank missile, 30 electric bomb detonators and numerous PKK propaganda leaflets that police say aimed at provoking the public.[114]

2016 timeline[edit]


A Police officer was killed in Sur.[115] A Soldier and one civilian was killed in Silopi[117][118] A Turkish tank malfunctioned and was damaged in Cizre.[119] A total of 18 were killed that day.

  • On 3 January, mine trap set by the PKK the previous night in a neighborhood killed 3 Turkish soldiers in Sur.[120]
  • On 4 January, rocket attacks launched by the PKK's youth militant arm YDG-H at security forces in Şırnak resulted in an incurring shoot-out in which 2 rebels were killed.[121]
  • On 7 January, Turkish Forces killed 16 militants in Cizre and 2 in Sur bringing the PKK death toll over the last 3 weeks in the [122] to 426.[123]
  • On 7 January, the Turkish Military captured 58 PKK militants fleeing to Iraq disguised as local villagers in the town of Silopi of the Şırnak Province
  • On 8 January, Turkish Police Special Operations, Rapid Response Force riot police and Police intelligence teams raided a HDP Kurdish opposition party's office in Istanbul arresting 5 Kurdish politicians after Police were informed that the murder weapon of the 22 July 2015 murder of 2 police officers conducted by PKK rebels in their sleep in Ceylanpınar was being held in that office.[123][124]
  • On 9 January, a soldier and a police officer were shot-dead in an attack by PKK rebels in Diyarbakır, Turkey's largest predominantly Kurdish south-eastern city.[125]
  • On 10 January, heavy clashes during a counter-terrorism operation between the PKK and police in eastern Van killed 12 PKK rebels and a police officer. Security forces say the operation successfully prevented a large scale attack against government buildings.[125]
  • On 10 January, Turkish troops killed 20 PKK militants in Cizre, Silopi and Sur during clashes.[125]
  • On 12 January, Turkish Police detained 16 suspects belonging to the YDG-H in Elazığ during a raid in which documents explicitly planning a crowd demonstration to harm public buildings and boast PKK propaganda was seized similar to the January 7th elementary school burning incident in Sirnak. The documents themselves are believed to be handed down from the PKK to the YDG-H youth group.[126]
  • On 12 January, the Turkish Air Force conducted night-time airstrikes on PKK camps in the Great Zab, Gare, Avashin, and Basyan regions of northern Iraq using four F-16Ds and two F-4 Terminator 2020s technologically modernized heavy combat aircraft whilst using drones to locate camps, quartering caves and shelters prior to the strike. In the same statement to press the Turkish Armed Forces stated that 578 terrorists had been killed since December 15, bringing the overall PKK death toll to 3,678 since July 2015.[127][128][129]
  • On 14 January, a car bomb targeting a police station and police housing unit adjacent to the station killed 6 people and injured 40 in Çınar, Diyarbakır, southeastern Turkey. Amongst the dead where relatives of police including a family consisting of a wife, a 5 year old and an infant. Upon the initial bomb attack, PKK militants opened fire using rockets and assault weapons on the security complex resulting in a fierce firefight.[130][131] The PKK claim the attack left over 30 Police officers dead as quoted by pro-Kurdish media, however admits than five civilian were killed as a result of the attack.[132]
  • On 14 January, Turkish Army troops killed 19 PKK militants in a government operations as-well as capturing a total of 10 PKK militants and affiliates. According to the Turkish General Staff, 12 were killed in heavy clashes in Cizre, 5 were killed and 10 were captured in Silopi, and 2 were killed in Sur.[133][134][135]
  • On 15 January, 1 Turkish Police Special Operations officer was wounded and killed in an raid on a PKK Sleeper cell in Siirt by sniper fire from PKK rebels. According to Turkish media reports, over 15,000 people attended the funeral of the slain officer Yalçın Yamaner in Tokat. The family of the slain officer whom were being accommodated in police family lodges are to be bought a house on the behalf of the General Directorate of Security.[135][136][137][138][139][140]
  • On 18 January, a total of 3 service members of the Turkish Police Special Operation Department were killed and 7 were wounded in a night-time IED trap set the day before targeting the convoy in Idil. Ensuing heavy clashes reportedly lasted till dawn.[141]
  • On 18 January, 2 Police Special Operations officers were killed and 12 were wounded in the Yenimahalle neighborhood of Şırnak Province when a police bus was struck by a rocket fired by PKK insurgents.[141]
  • On 18 January, a Turkish Army specialized sergeant succumbed to his injuries and died shortly after being critically wounded by sniper fire in Sur.[141]
  • On 19 January, Cizre municipal council member Abdülhamit Poçal and Selman Erdoğan were killed and IMC TV cameraman Refik Tekin along with 10 others were wounded during a firefight between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants though it is not clear who opened fire on the group. Pro-Kurdish sources allege that it was the Turkish side.[142][143][144]
  • On 19 January, Turkish Forces conducted an operation extracting a family from their neighborhood who had received threats from the PKK to not leave and stopping those who attempt to. The PKK calls for Kurds in the region to not leave their houses and participate in the so-called resistance.[145]
  • On 19 January, 3 Police Special Operations members were wounded when PKK militants opened fire on units removing roadblocks, dismantling barricades and filling up trenches set up by PKK elements.[146]
  • On 20 January, 2 Turkish soldiers were severely injured and later died when a home made bomb planted by PKK militants detonated during an anti-terror operation in Sur.[147]
  • On 21 January, new Turkish Military raids is Silopi led to the discovery of a U.S. made RQ-20 Puma UAV in the hands of PKK militants. Turkish Military officials believe that the aerial surveillance drone was handed to PKK elements by the YPG, the PKK's sister group based in Syria who are backed by the U.S. despite fierce Turkish objection. The discovery of the drone by Turkish troops further confirmed Turkey's suspicions of U.S. and various European weapons being supplied to the YPG would eventually end up in PKK hands. Despite the PKK being recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States, and the European Union, its sister organization, in which its fighters often overlap, is only recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey.[148][149]
  • On 27 January, while clearing out boobytrapped barricades in Sur, 4 members of the Turkish security forces were killed in a simultaneously launched attack consisting of pre-planted remote detonated explosives, rocket and sniper fire by PKK militants consisting of 3 army soldiers and a Police Special Operations officer while also wounding critically wounding 6 others. According to the Turkish Army, ensuing fierce clashes killed 9 PKK militants.[150][151]
  • On 29 January, 2 Turkish troops were killed in separate armed attacks by PKK militants in Sur and Cizre. The soldiers reportedly succumbed to their injuries "despite all medical intervention".[152]
  • On 31 January, a Turkish soldier and two police officers were killed in clashes with the Kurdistan Workers' Party on Reyhan Street in Cizre's Cudi neighborhood.[153]


  • On 1 February, 3 Turkish soldiers and 2 police were killed in the Sur district of Diyarbakır.[154]
  • On 3 February, the Turkish Air Force launched a massive scale air-strike operation consisting of around 40 jets and hit over 100 targets in Northern Iraq. Targets hit included a PKK meeting in Qandil.[155]
  • On 7 February, an intense hours long raid on a PKK safe-house were notorious members were based launched by Turkish army alongside the Police Special Operation Department killed 60 PKK militants in the basement of an apartment building. 3 Turkish troops were wounded amongst the fierce clashes by a bomb trap.[156][157][158][159] During the raid, PKK militants were allegedly speaking on the phone with a Kurdish HDP minister who remains anonymous.[160]
  • On 12 February, Turkish Army troops killed 16 PKK militants in the town of Cizre, 5 in Sur and 6 in Hakkâri Province bringing the overall PKK death toll to 27 while 24 bodies of PKK militants killed in previous operations were recovered the same day.[161][162][163]
  • On 17 February, a Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) militant[164] carried out a car bomb attack in Turkey's capital of Ankara killing 28 people, including 27 military personnel, and injuring a further 61. The attack targeted a bus full of military personnel in close proximity to the Turkish Armed Forces Department of Defense and parliament building. Security forces have currently detained 14 people in connection with the bombing.[165][166][167][168]

The government held both the YPG and PKK responsible for the attack, even after the TAK claimed responsibility. It was later confirmed by DNA reports that the perpetrator was a TAK militant.[169][170][171]

  • On 18 February, Turkish Air Force fighter jets launched large scale air strikes in northern Iraq in response to the previous days Ankara bombing hitting a group of 60-70 rebels including senior commanders in Qandil.[172][173]
  • On 18 February, a roadside bomb in Diyarbakır Province killed 6 Turkish troops while another two were killed in armed attacks in the Şırnak Province.[172][173][174]
  • On 19 February, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed during operations against PKK militants in a building collapse.[175]
  • On 20 February, Turkish F-16's stuck PKK shelters and bunkers in northern Iraq's Qandil region.[176]
  • On 23 February, Turkish Forces killed 6 PKK militants in clashes in Idil.[177]
  • On 24 February, the Turkish Forces killed 20 PKK militants in heavy clashes during ongoing counter insurgency operations in Idil.[177]
  • On 24 February, Turkish Army AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopters killed 12 PKK militants attempting to infiltrate the town of Idil from the Syrian border.[178][179][180]


  • On 1 March, Turkish authorities partially lifted their curfew on the town of Cizre.[181]
  • On 6 March, Released data stating that 1,250 militants had been killed since July of last year in the Nusaybin, Dargecit and Derik districts of Mardin Province. The report further more stated that over 3,000 explosives targeting security forces had been defused and 2,307 barricades and ditches were dismantled and filled.[182]
  • On 6 March, 6 convicted PKK militants broke out of Diyarbakır Prison. Roll call indicated 6 where shown missing. As a result, security measures at the prison were increased and an operation to locate the whereabouts of the escapees are underway.[183][184]
  • On 7 March, Turkish troops killed 4 PKK militants in the Sur district of Diyarbakır Province and defused 16 explosive devices aimed at sabotaging troops.[185]
  • On 7 March, Turkish counter insurgency operations killed 6 PKK militants in Idil. Turkish troops defused a total of 18 explosive devices in the same operation.[185]
  • On 9 March Turkish airstrikes reportedly hit PKK shelters, ammunition depots and supply lines in northern Iraq explained in a statement in the 11 March airstrikes.[186]
  • On 11 March, Turkish Air Force airstrikes reportedly killed at least 67 PKK militants in northern Iraq. Turkish F-16's and F-4E Terminator 2020s reportedly struck PKK headquarters situated on the Iran-Iraq border. i[187][188][189]
  • On 13 March, a suspected PKK car bombing in the capital Ankara killed 37 civilians and injured a further 125 when the car accelerated and crashed into a bus before exploding in one of the busiest areas in the city and just a few hundred yards from the prime ministers office. Those killed include the father of renowned soccer player Umut Bulut.[190][191] Four days later, the TAK claimed responsibility for the attack.[192]
  • On 14 March, a day after the Ankara bombing, 11 Turkish Air Force warplanes struck 18 different targets in Northern Iraq in response to the suspected PKK bombing.[193][194] At least 45 suspect PKK militants were killed.[195]
  • On 16 March, Turkish police detained 73 PKK terror suspects including lawyers throughout the country during simultaneous raids in connection to the March 2016 Ankara bombing.[196]
  • On 21 March, 4 Turkish army troops and a Police Special Operations operative were killed in a bomb attack in Nusaybin.[citation needed]
  • On 22 March, an attack by PKK militants killed a Turkish soldier and injured 6 others in Nusaybin.[197]
  • On 23 March, Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4 Terminator 2020s struck several PKK targets in northern Iraq and in Turkey's bordering south eastern mountains including shelters, caves, weapons caches, and militants killing at-least 24 insurgents.[198][199][200][201]
  • On 24 March Turkish forces killed a PKK linked YPS leader in Sirnak[202]
  • On 24 March, 3 Turkish troops were killed in a PKK bomb attack in Nusaybin.[citation needed]
  • On 28 March, documents were released by the Turkish government which indicated that they have made a decision to illegally confiscate 9,000 acres of property in the historic city center of Diyarbakir, including thousands of private properties and 6 churches owned by religious foundations. The Turkish Government claims that they appropriated the land and properties in the historic district in order to rebuild and repair them, although locals are skeptical of this, with the appropriations sparking more conflict in the region.[203]
  • On 29 March, a leading official from the ruling party AKP was kidnapped by PKK militants.[204]
  • On 29 March, ongoing Turkish military operations killed 16 PKK militants in Nusaybin.[205]
  • On 29 March, Turkish troops killed 9 PKK militants during clashes in Sirnak.[205]
  • On 29 March, Turkish troops killed 3 PKK militants and recovered one body of a previously killed militant during clashes in Yuksekova [205]
  • On 31 March, 7 police officers were killed and 27 people were injured by a PKK car bomb in Diyarbakır after a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into a police bus and detonated.[206][207]


  • On 1 April, a Turkish soldier was killed in Nusaybin as a result of an armed PKK attack during ongoing military operations.[208]
  • On 2 April, a Turkish soldier was killed in Sirnak during armed PKK attack.[209]
  • On 2 April, 5 Turkish troops and a Police Special Operations officer was killed in Nusaybin by an IED bomb planted by PKK militants.[210][211]
  • On 3 April, Turkish Forces killed seventeen militants in Yuksekova, six in Nusaybin and four in Sirnak in anti-insurgency operations bringing the total to 27.[212]
  • On 4 April, a Turkish soldier was killed by PKK militants during clashes in Nusaybin.[213]
  • On 4 April, a member of the paramilitary Kurdish Village guard forces whom are fighting alongside Turkish Forces against PKK insurgents, was killed by PKK militants disguised as doctors in front of a clinic in Bitlis.[214]
  • On 5 April, Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4 Terminator 2020s attacked PKK targets in the Qandil Mountains of Northern Iraq, targets struck include PKK weapons caches, ammunition depots & militant shelters killing 67 militants.[215][216][217]
  • On 5 April, a Turkish army tank en route to ongoing regional military operations traveling as a part of an armored convoy through the mountainous terrain of Uludere fell off of a cliff tumbling into a canyon below killing 1 crew member and injuring another.[218][219][220]
  • On 6 April, a Turkish soldier was killed by PKK militants during an attack on a convoy en route to a military operation in Bismil.[221]
  • On 6 April, a Kurdish Village guard was killed in clashes with PKK militants in Bitlis.[222]
  • On 7 April, a Turkish soldier and Police Special Operations officer was killed by an IED bomb attack in Nusaybin during ongoing military operations to root out militants.[223]
  • On 8 April, Turkish warplanes struck unspecified targets in south eastern Turkey and Northern Iraq.[224]
  • On 8 April, Turkish forces killed 12 PKK militants in military operations in the countries south-east. 7 in Nusaybin, 3 in Hakkari and 2 militants in Sirnak.[225]
  • On 10 April, the Turkish Army launched an operation in Hakkari killing 19 PKK militants in various districts. Turkish troops recovered dozens of hand made bombs, AK-47 style assault rifles, RPG-7 rockets and rocket launchers during the operation which lasted around an hour.[226][227]
  • On 12 April, a massive truck-bomb attack by PKK militants on the Hani regional Gendarmerie headquarters killed 3 Turkish soldiers and injured 54 others.[228][229][230]
  • On 12 April, during clashes between Turkish troops and PKK in Hakkari an explosion unknown and random explosion most likely from an IED bomb killed 1 soldier and injured 4 others.[231]
  • On 12 April, a gun attack by PKK militants killed 1 soldier and injured 4 others during ongoing military operations in Sirnak.[232]
  • On 12 April, a gun attack by PKK militants killed 1 soldier and critically injured another in Nusaybin.[233]
  • On 13 April, Cemil Ates, a senior PKK militant leader was killed during clashes with security forces in Muş[234]
  • On 16 April, 5 Police Special Operations officers were killed and 6 others were wounded by a roadside bomb in Savur.[235]
  • On 17 April, 23 PKK militants were killed in the mountains of Tunceli in a military operation by troops and attack helicopters after a Turkish UAV spotted a group of militants.[236][237]
  • On 21 April, Turkish F-16's carried out air-strikes in the mountains of Hakkari and Sirnak destroying PKK targets.[238]
  • On 22 April, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb planted by PKK militants in Tunceli.[239]
  • On 22 April, Turkish forces killed 8 PKK militants in ongoing military operations in Sirnak.[240]
  • On 22 April, Turkish forces killed 4 PKK militants in ongoing military operations in Nusaybin.[240]
  • On 22 April, Turkish troops killed 18 PKK militants attempting to cross the border into Syria's Qamishli region from Turkey's south eastern Nusaybin region.[241]
  • On 22 April, Turkish troops killed 6 PKK militants in Mardin and Sirnak.[242]
  • On 23 April, a Turkish Gendarmerie soldier was killed by PKK sniper fire in Mardin.[242]
  • On 23 April, Turkish Air Force F-16's and F-4E 2020 Terminator fighter jets struck several targets in Northern Iraq.[243]
  • On 25 April, 2 Turkish soldiers were killed by a bomb attack by PKK in Mardin.[244]
  • On 27 April, one police officer was killed and two were wounded in an attack by PKK in Varto.[245]
  • On 28 April, two soldiers and 10 PKK members were killed in counter-terrorism operations.[246]
  • On 30 April, 20 Turkish fighter jets struck scores of PKK targets in air-raids in Northern Iraq and Sirnak's vast and mountainous border region within Turkey.[247]


  • On 1 May, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed and 14 others were wounded in the Nusaybin district when the PKK attacked an army bomb disposal team with rockets.[248]
  • On 2 May, 24 PKK militants were killed in ongoing military operations in the south-east. 7 were killed in Sirnak, 6 in Nusaybin, 6 in Cukurca and 5 in Semdinli.[249]
  • On 2 May, 18 PKK militants were killed in air-strikes by F-16 and F-4 Terminator 2020 fighter jets in the Qandil Mountains of Northern Iraq.[249]
  • On 6 May, PKK militants killed a Turkish soldier with a missile.[250]
  • On 6 May, the Turkish Air Force launched a 2nd round of airstrikes in Northern Iraq following up those conducted earlier in the week.[citation needed]
  • On 7 May, two PKK militants were killed in the province of Tunceli by Turkish forces.[251]
  • On 8 May, 12 PKK militants were killed in Northern Iraq in air-strikes launched by Turkish Air Force F-16's. Targets also included PKK bunkers, gun emplacements and ammunition depots.[252]
  • On 10 May, 12 PKK militants were killed in ongoing military operations. 8 in Sirnak, and 4 in Nusaybin.[citation needed]
  • On 12 May, 4 PKK militants and 13 civilians were killed in a premature explosion while loading a truck with heavy explosives in preparation of an attack on Turkish forces.[253][254]
  • On 13 May, 6 Turkish troops and 22 PKK militants were killed in a PKK attack in Cukurca.[255][256]
  • On 13 May, 2 Turkish pilots died in a helicopter crash caused by a PKK-fired MANPAD in the mountains of Hakkari. The attack helicopter was en route to engage PKK militants attacking Turkish troops in Cukurca.[257] Turkish media initially tried to present the incident as an accident.[258]
  • On 14 May, the Turkish Air Force launched a series of air-strikes killing 12 PKK militants in Turkey's southeast as well as Northern Iraq.[259]
  • On 14 May, a PKK attack killed 1 Turkish soldier and 2 PKK militants in the resulting clash in Yuksekova.[260]
  • On 15 May, the Turkish Military announced that it had killed 35 PKK militants in military operations. 18 were killed by air-strikes into the Qandil Mountains of Northern Iraq, 8 killed in Sirnak, 4 in Sarikamis, 3 in Yuksekova and 2 in Nusaybin.[261]
  • On 15 May, 5 PKK militants surrendered to security forces in Silopi.[citation needed]
  • On 16 May, a Turkish Police Special Operations officer succumbed to his wounds and died in Kars.[262]
  • On 16 May, 2 Turkish soldiers died in Nusaybin after an PKK attack.[263]
  • On 17 May, the Turkish Air Force launched large scale bombardments and air-strikes into Northern Iraq striking 26 different PKK targets including bunkers, weapons depots, gun positions, caves, and barracks.[citation needed]
  • On 18 May, 4 Turkish soldiers were killed and 9 others were wounded when PKK militants detonated a roadside bomb in Hakkari ambushing a surpassing convoy.[264]
  • On 18 May, Turkish Air Force F-16s and F-4E Terminator 2020s launched overnight air-strikes into Northern Iraq killing 10 PKK militants.[264]
  • On 22 May, 30 PKK militants were killed in Turkish airstrikes into Northern Iraq[265]
  • On 24 May, 6 Turkish soldiers were killed after a PPK attack on Van Province. (Daily Sabah)
  • On 25 May, YPS said it withdrew its forces in Nusaybin.[266] Also 67 PKK members surrendered in 20–25 May.[267][268] HDP claims they are civilians, not PKK fighters.[citation needed]
  • On 28 May, the Gendarmerie General Command branch of the military, which is in charge of law enforcement in areas that fall outside the jurisdiction of the police, announced that it had deployed an additional 2000 troops to south-eastern Turkey to reinforce ongoing anti-insurgency operations.[citation needed]
  • On 28 May, Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech to Islamist supporters in the town of Diyarbakir which gained global attention as he referred to "our enemy", presumed to be the PKK and its supporters, as "atheists and Zoroastrians".[269][270][271]
  • On 29 May, Turkish Air Force fighter jets struck several PKK targets in Northern Iraq killing at-least 14 PKK militants.[272]
  • On 29 May, 2 Turkish soldiers were killed by PKK sniper fire opened upon a military installation in Uludere while another soldier was wounded and killed during military operations in Siirt.[273]
  • On 30 May, 2 Police Special Operations officers were killed by a bomb trap by PKK militants in İpekyolu.[273]
  • On 30 May, Zamani Çakmak, a senior PKK leader whom had orchestrated several deadly terrorist attacks was shot-dead by Turkish security forces during ongoing military operations in Nusaybin.[citation needed]
  • On 31 May, the Turkish Air Force launched air strikes into Northern Iraq hitting six different positions.[274]


  • On 2 June, 1 Turkish army soldier was killed in a PKK attack n the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin.[275]
  • On 5 June, 7 PKK militants were killed in Şemdinli during ongoing military operations.[276]
  • On 5 June, 20 PKK militants were killed in Hakkari border province and Northern Iraq after a series of Turkish military air strikes. Turkish Air Force F-16's reportedly struck caves, shelters, weapons caches and other militant positions.[276][277]
  • On 5 June, the Turkish General Staff announced that it has shifted the direction of operations against PKK militants from urban centers to rural areas in the country's southeastern and eastern parts.[278]
  • On 5 June, 1 Turkish army soldier and 1 feudalist "village guard" were killed in two separate PKK attacks in the southeastern province of Şırnak and in the Black Sea province of Gümüşhane.[279]
  • On 6 June, Turkish Air Force jets launched another round of airstrikes into Northern Iraq for the 2nd day in a row again hitting PKK positions and elements.[280][281]
  • On 7 June, a PKK car bomb killed 11 people including 7 police officers in Istanbul as a vehicle laden with explosives detonated as a convoy of police buses were passing through a busy street during morning rush hour. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım named the PKK as being responsible for the terrorist attack.[282] However, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks organisation took responsibility.[283][284]
  • On 8 June, another car bomb killed 5 people including 2 female police officers in the south-eastern town of Midyat. One of the police officers killed was 6 months pregnant and former Turkish president Abdullah Gül's body guard.[285][286]
  • On 9 June, 2 feudalist "village guards" were killed and another wounded in a PKK attack in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Şırnak.[287]
  • On 11 June, the Turkish Air Force launched widespread air strikes in Northern Iraq and in Turkey's Lice, Hakkari and Siirt regions killing 13 PKK militants. The strikes came after PKK movement was spotted by UAV's.[288]
  • On 11 June, 3 PKK militants were killed in İpekyolu during ongoing military operations.[288]
  • On 11 June, 2 Turkish army soldiers were killed while four others wounded in a PKK attack on the Tekeli military base in the Şemdinli district of southeastern province of Hakkari.[289]
  • On 14 June, a first media source claimed that the new Turkish government under Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım had immediately after assuming office on 24 May come to an agreement with the PKK, entailing "that PKK guerrillas must retreat from the Kurdish cities in southeastern Turkey, and the Turkish government, in return, will allow the Syrian Democratic Forces to control the areas in the west of Euphrates river in northern Syria" and that "Ankara has also agreed to move the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, from İmralı Island Prison in the Marmara Sea to another location and place him under house arrest, and resume negotiations with PKK as part of the agreement."[290] The SDF's Manbij offensive in northern Syria for the Federation of Northern Syria – Rojava has been going since 1 June.
  • On 15 June, a feudalist "village guard" was killed and another was wounded in a PKK attack in the eastern province of Muş.[291]
  • On 15 June, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chairs of the HDP, released a statement stating that "while armed clashes have stopped in all these [urban] districts, curfews are still in effect for full days in some districts, while at night in some others" and that "Erdoğan-AKP rule is directly responsible for all this destruction and suffering. The crimes against humanity committed by them are piling up with every passing day." They demanded that "the ongoing round-the-clock curfews, blockades and destruction in Kurdish cities and towns should be immediately stopped. All the obstacles that prevent residents from safely returning to their homes should be removed."[292]
  • On 16 June, HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas called on the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks to dissolve.[293]
  • On 21 June, Prime Minister and AKP chairman Binali Yıldırım declared the end of military operations in Turkey's southeast and said the government would now focus on reconstruction of cities damaged by clashes between the security forces and the PKK. However, he threatened to now take action against HDP councillors in municipalities in the southeast.[294]
  • On 22 June, 1 Turkish army soldier was killed and 2 were wounded in a PKK attack in the province of Şırnak.[295]
  • On 22 June, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that in his handling of the conflict he considered himself successful in having "civil society groups working against Turkish state largely destroyed",[296] a conclusion that had been confirmed some days earlier by Sedat Laciner, Professor of International Relations and rector of the Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University: "Outlawing unarmed and peaceful opposition, sentencing people to unfair punishment under erroneous terror accusations, will feed genuine terrorism in Erdoğan's Turkey. Guns and violence will become the sole alternative for legally expressing free thought."[297]
  • On 24 June, 6 Turkish army soldiers were killed in two separate PKK attacks in the Çukurca district of the southeastern province of Hakkari and the Derik district of the southeastern province of Mardin.[298]
  • On 25 June, Turkish warplanes conducted airstrikes against PKK targets in the southeastern province of Hakkari, with no casualties reported.[299]
  • On 26 June, Figen Yüksekdağ, co-chair of the HDP, said that "an ethnic cleansing war is being conducted against the Kurdish people. Lots of deaths and exiles have taken place; 600,000 Kurds have been forced to migrate from the lands they had been living in. But Kurds haven't abandoned their lands. Heavy weapons have been used during these sieges of provinces. For example in Nusaybin [in southern Mardin province], F-16s have been used."[300]
  • On 26 June, 2 Turkish army soldiers were killed in a PKK attack in the Lice district of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.[301]
  • On 27 June, 1 Turkish army soldier was killed and another two were wounded in a PKK attack in the eastern province of Bitlis.[302]
  • On 29 June, 2 Turkish army soldiers were killed in two separate PKK attacks in the Lice and Bismil districts of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.[303]
  • On 29 June, 2 Turkish army soldiers were killed and three were wounded when a hand-made explosive laid on the ground was detonated by PKK militants in the Derik district of the southeastern province of Mardin.[304]


  • On 8 July, Turkish Air Force jets launched a round of airstrikes into Qandil mountains and Şemdinli, claiming that 12 PKK militants were killed.[305]
  • On 8 July, the PKK launched nine to ten simultaneous attacks in the Semdinli district and the city of Yuksekova in southeastern Turkey. The Turkish army outpost at Artuklu was leveled and 4 soldiers were killed.[306]
  • On 9 July, 2 PKK militants were killed in Ağrı.[307]
  • From 9 July to 12 July, sources in the Turkish government claimed that a senior PKK figure under the name of Fehman Huseyin alias Bahoz Erdal would have been assassinated in Syria.[308] The MIT intelligence service was quoted as the source of this story.[citation needed] The story was initially taken up by several international media, it was however debunked when Erdal gave a radio interview on 13 July[309] and later thoroughly deconstructed as fake.[308]
  • On 10 July, one PKK militants was killed in Van Province.[310]
  • On 11 July, 4 Turkish army soldiers were killed in a PKK attack in the Şemdinli district.[311] 4 PKK militants were killed and 2 were captured in Mardin, Kızıltepe.[312]
  • On 20 July, Turkish Air Force jets launched a round of airstrikes into Northern-Iraq and killed 20 PKK militants.[313] One Village guard was killed while another 2 were wounded during a PKK attack in Şirvan district of the southeastern province of Siirt.[314]
  • On 30 July, 35 PKK militants were killed in Hakkari after military operations were launched against PKK elements in the region.[315]
  • On 31 July, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed in Ordu by a PKK attack whom were conducting military operations.[316][317]


  • On 1 August, 5 police officers were killed in Bingöl after their convoy was ambushed by a remote detonated bomb.[318][319]
  • On 11 August, Turkish Air Force fighters struck several positions in Northern Iraq killing an unspecified amount of PKK militants following PKK attacks in Hakkari which killed 4 soldiers.[320]
  • On 12 August, 1 police officer was killed and another was injured by a PKK attack in Nusaybin.[321]
  • On 15 August, a PKK car bomb attack on a police station near Bismil killed 6 people including 4 police officers and a child.[322]
  • On 18 August, a PKK car bomb attack on a police station in Elazığ killed 7 police officers and wounded 224 people.[323]
  • On 18 August, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that his country does not differentiate between the Gulen Movement, PKK or ISIS designating them all as Terrorist organizations.[324]
  • On 21 August, a PKK militant whom was on Turkey's most wanted list was killed by a police raid in Ordu. The militant was responsible for an attack that killed 3 soldiers in Turkey's south-east.[316]
  • On 22 August, heavy clashes between PKK militants and Turkish troops in Tunceli killed one soldier. PKK militants also launched rocket attacks on police stations in the region and set 2 ambulances on fire.[325]
  • On 23 August, 1 village guard was killed by a PKK attack on a village near Bingöl.[326]
  • On 24 August, 5 Turkish soldiers were killed in PKK rocket attacks on a military outpost in Lice.[327]
  • On 24 August, 1 Turkish soldier was killed by an roadside bomb in Karlıova.[327]
  • On 25 August, an unsuccessful assassination attempt was carried out by the PKK against the Republican party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as his convoy passed through Artvin Province sparking a shoot-out between his private security detail accompanied by local police against PKK militants.[328]
  • On 25 August, during Operation Euphrates Shield while Turkish forces and pro-Turkish local militia factions liberated various towns and villages from ISIS control along the Turkish border, Kurdish YPG forces, whom Turkey claims is a Syrian extension of the PKK, opened fire on Turkish troops and killed a Turkish soldier. Turkish fighter jets and artillery immediately after the incident reportedly struck YPG positions killing 25 YPG militants.[329]
  • On 26 August, a PKK attack on a construction site killed 2 construction workers and injured 2 others in Hakkari.[330]
  • On 26 August, a PKK truck bomb attack on a security checkpoint near a police station killed 11 police officers in Cizre and damaged the police station.[331]
  • On 28 August, a roadside bomb planted by PKK militants in Siirt injured 5 Turkish soldiers.[332]
  • On 28 August, a botched PKK attack resulted in heavy clashes with Turkish troops in Hakkari killing 9 PKK militants and injuring 2 Turkish soldiers.[332]
  • On 29 August, four Turkish Air Force F-16s carried out airstrikes on various PKK targets in Northern Iraq.[333]
  • On 29 August, 2 PKK militants were killed in a police raid in Van after a report that the militants were occupying a residents house. During the operation large sums of ammunition were also seized.[citation needed]


  • On 1 September, 2 soldiers in Siirt and a village guard in Van were killed in PKK attacks while Turkish airstrikes killed 3 PKK militants in Cukurca.[334]
  • On 2 September, Turkish riot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse a group of protesters along the Syrian border, who demonstrated against Turkey building a wall on the Syrian border near the Kurdish-controlled Syrian town of Kobani. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims that one child had been killed and more than 30 people injured.[335]
  • On 2 September, Turkish soldiers killed 27 PKK militants and captured a further 30 militants during ongoing military operations in Çukurca.[336]
  • On 2 September, 1 Turkish soldier was killed during military operations in Hakkari.[337]
  • On 2 September, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that peace talks with the PKK would not restart and that military operations would continue
  • On 4 September, 22 vehicles belonging to the PKK were captured in Lice during a military operation after a tip-off was made involving vehicles that would have been used as car-bombs.[338]
  • On 4 September, multiple PKK attacks and relentless military operations in conjunction in Çukurca over the past weekend killed or wounded over a 104 PKK militants and 18 soldiers.[339]
  • On 5 September, 30 PKK militants were killed in an airstrike in Northern Iraq bringing the total number of PKK militants killed, wounded or captured over the past weekend to 157.[340]
  • On 5 September, over 14,000 teachers in the countries east and south-east were suspended over having suspected links to the PKK as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım announced a new offensive stage against the war on PKK insurgency.[citation needed]
  • On 9 September, the Turkish Air Force hit 3 different PKK positions in airstrikes launched into Northern Iraq.[341]
  • On 9 September, 2 PKK militants were killed in Cukurca in an air-strike after being spotted by a surveillance drone .[341]
  • On 9 September, 14 PKK militants were killed in Semdinli during military operations in the region.[341]
  • On 10 September, 33 PKK militants were killed in airstrikes in Northern Iraq after the Turkish Air Force launched another round of bombings into the region striking 9 locations.[342][343]
  • On 10 September, the Turkish government granted the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan a family visit to his Island prison in İmralı where he has been incarcerated ever since his capture in 1999 in Kenya by an operation staged by the Turkish OKK coordinated with the Kenyan government.[344]
  • On 10 September, explosives belonging to the PKK were found hidden in 5 different locations of a family cemetery of a government official in Bismil. Turkish police who discovered the explosives launched an investigation regarding the incident.[citation needed]
  • On 10 September, Turkey announced in was swapping 28 administrations of local government municipalities in the countries south-east on having suspected links to the PKK.[citation needed]
  • On 12 September, a PKK car bomb in-front of the government municipality headquarters building in Van injured over 50 people.[345]
  • On 13 September, Dutch police announced that they would register the names of Turks and Kurds in the Netherlands who sympathize with the PKK into the national police database.[346]
  • On 14 September, Turkish air strikes in Hakkari killed 16 PKK militants.[347]
  • On 14 September, new evidence solidifying suspicions against 28 PKK linked mayors in various provinces in Turkey's southeast arose. According to the evidence, certain local counties and municipalities were providing local-government transportation and construction vehicles to PKK elements in order to transport ammunition, militants and other supplies while constructing barricades and barriers to be used against military and police targets.[348]
  • On 15 September, 2 PKK militants were killed on the Turkish-Iraqi border in an air-strike after being detected by UAVs while attempting to infiltrate Turkish territory near Cukurca.[citation needed]
  • On 15 September, 7 local village guards, 2 soldiers and a civilian was killed after a security checkpoint was attacked by PKK rockets and sniper-fire in Ağrı. One of the village guards was retired having rushed to the seen after hearing about the then-ongoing attack.[349]
  • On 15 September, a civilian was killed in Nusaybin after an hidden explosive trap set by the PKK had detonated.[349]
  • On 16 September, Mehmet Ferden Çarıkçı, Turkey's permanent representative to the U.N.'s Geneva office, harshly criticized the U.N.'s report on Thursday which does not refer to the PKK as a terrorist organization, although the group is recognized as a terrorist organization by many countries including the U.S., the EU, NATO and Turkey.[350]
  • On 16 September 11 PKK militants were killed in ongoing military operations in Hakkâri Province while a village guard in Van was killed after attempting to prevent militants from cutting off a road.[351]
  • On 16 September, Turkeys third largest political parties, the Kurdish HDP's Deputy co-chair along with 12 other members were arrested for allegations of recruiting Kurdish youth to join the ranks of the PKK and having direct alleged links with the militant organization.[352]
  • On 18 September, the Turkish military killed 3 PKK militants during ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Sirnak.[353]
  • On 19 September, the Turkish Air Force struck several targets in Northern Iraqs Kirkuk Governorate destroying weapons positions and killing at-least 2 militants.[353]
  • On 20 September, 5 PKK militants were killed and several targets including munitions depots were destroyed by Turkish artillery strikes into Northern Iraq during ongoing counter-insurgency operations.[citation needed]
  • On 22 September, a Turkish shepherd was approached and killed by PKK militants in Sirnak.[354]
  • On 23 September, a 6 PKK militants were killed in Hakkari while 1 militant was captured in Mardin during ongoing military operations.[citation needed]
  • On 26 September, 2 Turkish soldiers and 2 village guards were killed by an IED bomb in Mardin[355]
  • On 26 September 6 Turkish soldiers were killed and 2 others were wounded in Uludere by a large-scale PKK rocket attack against troops patrolling a highway.[355]
  • On 26 September, 12 PKK militants were killed Yüksekova after the Turkish military intensified combat operations in-spite of recent PKK attacks.[citation needed]
  • On 29 September, a Turkish military drone strike killed 4 PKK militants in Hakkari while Turkish Air Force jets struck several PKK shelters and weapons storages in Northern Iraq during a day of widespread military aerial operations in the region.[356]
  • On 29 September, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization uncovered a plot involving Kurdish YPG militants striking high-value targets within Turkey while portraying them as ISIS attacks. The intelligence report sent to police and gendarmerie stations in all 81 Turkish provinces had sparked a nationwide search for 5 suspects cited in the report while introducing enhanced security measures in areas deemed most vulnerable.[citation needed]
  • On 29 September, PKK militants in the border province of Hakkari opened fire upon volunteer defense militia and killed 3 village guards.[357]
  • On 30 September, 6 PKK militants were killed in Ordu during military operations.[358]


  • On 3 October, Turkish Army troops killed a total of 20 PKK militants during heavy clashes amidst ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Sirnak.[359]
  • On 3 October, an IED attack on a Turkish army convoy killed 2 Turkish soldiers in Hakkari.[359]
  • On 5 October, 3 PKK militants were killed in heavy clashes with Turkish forces in Cukurca.[360]
  • On 6 October, 8 PKK militants were killed in a combination of air and land operations by Turkish forces ongoing in the Hakkari and Agri regions.[360]
  • On 7 October, the bodies of 5 previously killed PKK militants were recovered from a cave in Cukurca along with weapon magazines, explosives and AK-type rifles used by the militants.[360]
  • On 8 October, Turkish forces recovered the body of an individual who had been abducted by PKK militants in a ditch on the side of a road in Sur.[361]
  • On 8 October, PKK militants executed a female militant attempting to flee the group.[362]
  • On 9 October, a PKK truck bomb attack on a Turkish Gendarmerie outpost in Hakkari killed 18 people including 10 Turkish soldiers and eight civilians.[363]
  • On 9 October, the Turkish Army killed 8 PKK militants during a raid on a PKK weapons and munitions depot in Cukurca.[364]
  • On 10 October, Turkish police foiled a suicide bombing plot in the nation's capital, Ankara; the standoff ended with the militants detonating explosives during a police raid which only resulted in the death of the PKK militants[365]
  • On 10 October, 2 Turkish politicians were found murdered by PKK militants in their homes in Van. Turkish police stated that the killings were assassinations targeting members of the ruling AKP.[366]
  • On 11 October, a Turkish army T-129 attack helicopter neutralized a vehicle rigged with explosives used by PKK as a car-bomb before it could ram into and detonate at nearby troops in Lice[360]
  • On 11 October, during ongoing military operations across Turkey's south-east 20 tons of Ammonium nitrate intended for explosives use was captured in Sur, hundreds of AK magazines were captured in Batman along with explosives, and over a thousand of varying rifle magazines and rocket munitions were captured in Cukurca.[360]
  • On 12 October, 9 PKK militants were killed in Cukurca by a Turkish military drone strike.[360][367]
  • On 13 October, 2 PKK militants were killed during military operations in Cukurca.[360]
  • On 13 October, 5 PKK militants were killed in Northern Iraq by Turkish Army artillery strikes.[360]
  • On 13 October, 1 PKK militant was killed during ongoing military operations in Sirnak.[360]
  • On 13 October, Turkish Air Force F-16's struck PKK shelters in Northern Iraq.[368]
  • On 14 October, 3 Turkish soldiers inside a military vehicle were killed by a hidden roadside bomb planted by PKK militants on a highway in Mardin.[369]
  • On 15 October, multiple shelters and caves used by the PKK were destroyed during by Turkish military operations in Sirnak, Cukurca and Bitlis.[360]
  • On 16 October, 3 PKK militants in Siirt were killed by ongoing Turkish military operations.[360]
  • On 16 October, 2 PKK militants were killed and several strategic targets were destroyed by Turkish military airstrikes in Northern Iraq.[360]
  • On 17 October, 10 PKK militants were killed in Tunceli by a Turkish military airstrike during ongoing counter insurgency operations in the region.[370]
  • On 18 October, 4 PKK militants were killed by Turkish army operations in Cukurca.[360]
  • On 19 October, Turkish fighter jets struck PKK shelters in Hakkari on the mountainous Turkish-Iraq border.[citation needed]
  • On 20 October, between 9:11 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. the Turkish Air Force conducted a massive aerial operation against PKK-linked Kurdish YPG targets in Syria's Aleppo province killing up to 200 militants. Turkey has previously militarily threatened the YPG and accuses it of carrying out various terrorist attacks across the nation and of funneling U.S. arms and supplies to the PKK. In response to the massive onslaught of airstrikes into Syrian territory, the Syrian government openly threatened to shoot down Turkish jets.[371][372][373][374][375][376][377]
  • On 20 October, 26 PKK militants and 2 Turkish soldiers were killed in Hakkari during Turkish army counter-insurgency operations.[360][378]
  • On 21 October, 12 PKK militants in Hakkari were killed by Turkish troops during ongoing military operations to root out the separatist militant organization.[379]
  • On 21 October, 6 PKK militants in Northern Iraq were killed by Turkish air-strikes.[379]
  • On 21 October, about 100 rockets were fired by the Turkish army into regions of Syria held by the YPG striking several targets.[380]
  • On 22 October, the Turkish military struck 70 PKK affiliated YPG militant targets in Syria utilizing heavy artillery and rocket systems to do so.[citation needed]
  • On 23 October, 7 pkk militants were killed by the Turkish armed forces in Tunceli during counter-insurgency operations.
  • On 23 October, 2 Turkish policemen were killed by a PKK attack in the eastern province of Bingöl[381]
  • On 24 October, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a meeting with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault assured the public with a statement that Turkey would begin to more actively fight the PKK in Iraq in addition the insurgency in the nations south-east.[382]
  • On 24 October, Turkish army AH-1 Super Cobra attack helicopters and F-16 fighter jets struck and destroyed several targets killing 2 PKK militants,[383]
  • On 24 October, 6 PKK militants were killed in Turkish army operations in Semdinli.[citation needed]
  • On 24 October, 7 PKK militants were killed in Turkish army operations in Cukurca.[384]
  • On 29 October, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed in an ambush in Cukurca.[385] Also, an amateur footage revealed showing Turkish soldiers execute 2 female PKK captives.[386]
  • On 31 October, 13 PKK militants and 3 Turkish soldiers were killed in heavy clashes in Hakkari.[387]


  • On 1 November, Turkish military air-strikes destroyed several PKK targets in Cukurca and Northern Iraq.[360]
  • On 2 November, 6 PKK militants surrendered to Turkish forces in Silopi.[360]
  • On 2 November, Turkish military airstrikes destroyed several PKK targets in Cukurca.[360]
  • On 3 November, Turkish military operations killed 5 PKK militants, two in Bitlis, two in Northern Iraq and one in Lice.[360]
  • On 4 November, at least nine people were killed and more than 100 injured in a car bomb attack outside the police headquarters in central Diyarbakır. The governor of Diyarbakır Province, Cahit Kıraç, said the Kurdistan Workers' Party had claimed responsibility. The bombing took place just hours after the arrests of pro-Kurdish HDP leaders, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ whom are accused by the Turkish government to have ties to the outlawed PKK organization.[388]
  • On 4 November, 14 PKK militants were killed in widespread Turkish military operations, seven in Sirnak, three in Hakkari, three in Northern Iraq, and one in Lice while a separate militant surrendered in Nusaybin.[360]
  • On 5 November, 17 PKK militants in ongoing Turkish military operations were killed, 14 in Sirnak and 3 in Hakkari.[360]
  • On 14 November, 2 PKK militants were killed by Turkish forces in Cizre.[389]
  • On 16 November, 2 PKK militants were killed in Turkish military counter insurgency operations in Uludere.[389]
  • On 18 November, 2 PKK militants were killed by a Turkish reconnaissance unit after an clash had erupted in Nusaybin.[389]
  • On 20 November, 12 PKK militants were killed in by a Turkish military drone strike in Daglica.[389]
  • On 29 November, Security forces killed at least 10 PKK insurgents in Şırnak.[390]


  • On 2 December, a military operation left 3 soldiers dead and another 3 were wounded in Hakkâri Province, Turkey. 20 PKK militants were killed or captured as well during the operation.[391]
  • On 10 December, a twin PKK-linked suicide bombing attack in Istanbul against riot police maintaining security for a Besiktas soccer game killed 36 police officers and 8 civilians. Following the attack hundreds of suspects were arrested including dozens of pro-Kurdish HDP party members.[392]
  • A Turkish fighter jet crashed near an airport in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakır on Dec. 12, the military said, but the pilot was able to safely eject from the plane. According to a government spokesman the plane had fallen due to a possible technical malfunction.[393] Also PKK militants took responsibility for the downed Turkish jet.[394]
  • On 17 December a PKK-linked group carried out another attack in Kayseri using a car bomb to ram a public bus full of off-duty paratrooper commandos killed 14 troops.

2017 timeline[edit]


  • On 5 January, a shootout in İzmir kills two gunmen. During the shootout a car bomb explodes, killing a police officer and court employee. Veysi Kaynak states that the discovery of more weapons on the scene suggests that a larger attack was foiled. Provincial governor Erol Ayyıldız blames the attack on the PKK.[395]
  • On 13 and 14 January, at least 57 PKK fighters were killed and scores of others injured in Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.[396]



  • On 9 March, 19 PKK fighters and one Turkish soldier were killed in military operations in southeastern Diyarbakir and eastern Bingol provinces that was launched by Turkey on 5 March.[397]


  • On 24 April, 90 YPG, Jezidi-YBŞ and Peshmerga fighters were killed in an air raid conducted by the Turkish Air Force against targets in Syria, and Iraq. Turkish authorities claim YPG militants are directly affiliated with the PKK.[398]
  • On 29 April, 45 PKK militants were killed in airstrikes by the Turkish Air Force against militant targets in Iraq.[399]









2018 timeline[edit]


Protest in London against Turkish military operation in Afrin, 31 March 2018

On 20 January 2018, the Turkish military began an attack in the Afrin region of Syria, code-named by Turkey as Operation Olive Branch (Turkish: Zeytin Dalı Harekâtı). The offensive is against the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party in Syria (PYD),[400] its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG),[401] and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) positions surrounding the Syrian city of Afrin.[402] Turkey also says it is fighting ISIL,[403] though ISIL does not exist in Afrin.[404][405][406][407] Afrin and the surrounding area is claimed by the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria as the Afrin Region. It is the first major military operation by Turkey in Syria since Operation Euphrates Shield.











On November 1, US officials confirmed that US and Turkish military forces had conducted two joint patrols on the outskirts of Manbij, Syria, which is held by the Manbij Military Council (MMC). MMC claims that YPG-aligned militants have left the city.[408]


Turkey has amassed troops and tanks on the outskirts of Manbij, announcing an intention to drive out the YKK from that city. On December 24, US President Donald Trump announced that he would order the withdrawal of the approximately 2,000 US service members on the ground in Syria in support of the YPG campaign against ISIS. On December 28, YPG tweeted an invitation to Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to enter SDF-held territory around Manbij, for the purpose of countering an anticipated invasion by Turkish-backed forces, in the absence of US support.[409] The SAA has moved into the SDF front lines facing Turkish-held areas to the east of Manbij. US, French and British forces are still present in the front lines to the north of the city.[410]

2019 timeline[edit]


On 4 January 2019, one Turkish soldier was killed, and one PKK militant was 'neutralized' (wounded/killed/captured), and two others were injured in an attack which took place near Emince village of Aralik district, located in Igdir province bordering Iran, according to Hurriyet Daily News and Anadolu Agency.[411]

On 23 January 2019, the PKK reportedly kidnapped four people, who crossed Sarzeri border crossing in Duhok province. Because of this, Turkey decided to close the border gate.[412] 13 days later, the border gate was reopened.[413]

On 24 January 2019, the Turkish Armed Forces conducted airstrikes against the PKK in the region of Sheladiz village, Dohuk province. According to Kurdistan24, four civilians were killed in the strikes, whereas Mehmet Cavusoglu, the Turkish Foreign Minister claimed that the strikes were 'successful', and PKK got disturbed.[414][415] Locals protested against both the Turkish military and the PKK, demanding to move their fight elsewhere, and attacked a Turkish military base, which resulted in the death of two (according to New Generation Movement, one protester(s), and in the injury of several more, as well as partial damage to some equipment and vehicles in the base. Cavusoglu said, "They [the PKK] are disturbed by these. They started provoking local people. We know that there is PKK behind this". He stated he had a telephone conversation with Nechirvan Barzani Nechirvan Barzani late Saturday.

The KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) expressed concerns over the protests. They stated there is 'a disruptive hand' behind the events.[416]

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned the Turkish forces 'opening fire' on the protesters, and summoned Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad. However, the Foreign Ministry also condemned "the use of its territory to threaten the security and safety of any neighboring country."[417]

The Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar said: 'Since they [PKK terrorists] realized that they cannot fight against Turkish soldiers, they try to provoke the innocent locals,'. He also stated 'Our effective operations will continue without interruption. All these provocations will be defeated and we will clear the area off terrorists'.[418]

An NRT News team was arrested by KRG authorities, when they were filming in front of the Dohuk Emergency Hospital to report on the condition of the injured protesters, and several other NRT staff was arrested as well. They were all released later.[419]

Some other Iraqi Kurdish parties also reacted to the incidents.

The New Generation Movement said they 'condemn the use of violence against peaceful demonstrators'. 'Today, the innocent residents of Deraluk staged a peaceful demonstration to protest continuous Turkish airstrikes in the Badinan region. Unfortunately, the demonstration ended in violence, during which a civilian was killed and several others were wounded', they continued. They noted 'It is the duty of the Asayish [Kurdish security forces] to protect the safety and security of the people, not to threaten them' Furthermore, they asked the Iraqi government to 'protect the people and the borders of the Kurdistan Region because the two ruling families do not value the lives or the dignity of the Region’s people.' and they concluded 'They are not afraid to resort to violence or to attack civilians in order to protect their interests'.

The Gorran Movement noted that 'Bombardment, fighting, and killing do not solve the Kurdish question in Turkey. It only increases the number of the victims' It also added that 'The only solution to the Kurdish question in the country is peaceful dialogue.'

One of the members of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan leadership, Arez Abdulla said 'Denouncing them [the protesters] as demagogues is a crime against the people of Shiladze,', reacting to the statement of the KRG which suspected 'disruptive' or 'demagogue' hands for the violence. He added 'Turkey is against the Kurdistan Regional Government, but it has the excuse of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] presence. Thus, the villages have been ravaged and evacuated and the people have been harmed. What Turkey is doing is not only against the PKK, but also against the Kurds'.



On 16 March 2019, two Turkish soldiers were killed and eight more were wounded after an assault. Turkey claimed that six PKK fighters were neutralized during the incident. [420] On 20 March 2019, one Turkish soldier was killed in the southeastern part of Sirnak province by an IED while carrying out a search operation. Another soldier was wounded because of the explosion.[421]


On 19 April 2019, four Turkish soldiers were killed, and six were wounded near Iraqi Kurdistan's border. The Turkish Defense Ministry said they were working 'to determine' whether there were Kurdish casualties.[422]

On the same day, and on 20 April 2019, Turkish police used violence against Kurdish mothers protesting in solidarity with political prisoners in Kocaeli and in Turkey's Mardin province. Lawmakers in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Sezgin Tanrıkulu and Gursel Tekin expressed their concerns about the event in Kocaeli.[423]

On 26 April 2019, five PKK militants were neutralized in Diyarbakir's Lice region.[424]

On 29 April 2019, Turkish jets bombarded the Kurdistan Region's Chamanke district in Duhok province. No human casualties were reported. [425]

On 30 April 2019, five PKK militants were neutralized in Siirt.[426]


On 1 May, 2019, five PKK militans were neutralized in the Amanos mountains in Hatay province.[427]

On 4 May 2019, three Turkish soldiers were killed after a PKK mortar attack in the Sherwan Mazin region in Erbil Province. After the attack, gunfire was heard in the area, and Turkish gunships began to target suspected elements of PKK. The heaviest clashes occurred around Chama village. Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar claimed 23 PKK militants were killed in the pursuit.[428]

On 20 May 2019, it was reported that the Turkish forces have been locked in days of clashes in the Sidekan area of Erbil Governorate. Neither side has disclosed casualty figures yet.[429]

On 27 May 2019, Turkish Armed Forces launched a counter-terrorism operation in northern Iraq to neutralise terrorists in the area and destroy their caves and shelters.[430]


Turkish military and affiliates[edit]

Turkish Forces consisting of Turkish Land Forces troops, Gendarmerie operatives and Police Special Operations teams are backed by the rest of the Turkish Armed Forces. They are supported by a system of "village guards" which represent a feudal part of Turkey.[431] There have been recurring reports of the resurfacing Jitem "military police intelligence and anti-terrorist service" which had been responsible for massacres in the 1990s, and of irregular foreign jihadists, being employed.[432]

The Turkish government of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) are increasingly portraying the party they oppose as an enemy of an "islamic order", referring to the PKK and its affiliates and supporters as "atheists and Zoroastrians".[269][270][271]

PKK and affiliates[edit]

In 2008, according to information provided by the Intelligence Resource Program of the Federation of American Scientists the strength of the organization in terms of human resources consists of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants of whom 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.[433] With the new wave of fighting from 2015 onwards, observers noted that active support for the PKK had become a "mass phenomenon" in majority ethnic Kurdish cities in the Southeast of the Republic of Turkey, with large numbers of local youth joining PKK-affiliated local militant groups.[434]

According to Turkish estimates the PKK has a much larger size than the previously stated size standing at over 32,800 active fighters spanning across north-western Syria, south-eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and north-western Iran concentrated on the Qandil mountain range.[435]

PKK bases remain active in Northern Iraq and its leadership suspectedly in the Qandil Mountains in Iraq and Iran.[436][437] From the traditional preceding Turkish-PKK conflicts the PKK rebellion has transitioned into urban warfare in the country's densely populated south east.[438]


Civilian impact[edit]

Cizre, March 2016
Protest in London, 31 March 2018

According to Turkish Human Rights Foundation, there have been 52 intermittent curfews in seven predominantly Kurdish towns where 1.3 million people live, sometimes lasting as long as 14 days. The organization puts the civilian death toll since the summer of 2015 at 124.[439] The situation in the South-East has little coverage in the Turkish media. The authorities have enforced a blockade over the region and have shut down both cell phone coverage and the internet. Hundreds of houses, dozens of schools and official buildings have been damaged by artillery and gun fire from militants,[440] and civilians have been allegedly fired at. Turkish Forces have used measures like tank fire to clear out bomb-trapped barricades which lead to damage of residential buildings.[441] It is estimated that more than 200,000 people have been displaced. According to the HRW, civilian death toll is around 100. Diyarbakir branch of the Human Rights Association accuses Turkish Armed Forces and Gendarmerie of targeting civilians under the pretext of fighting terrorism.[442] Many residents in the southeastern cities have been trapped without food or electricity as clashes between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces have intensified. In December 2015, town of Cizre, was under curfew for more than two weeks, with mounting civilian casualties. According to a teacher from the district of Silopi, the tanks fire all day and people have nowhere left to hide and they are dying in their own homes.[443]

Internal reactions[edit]

Academics petition[edit]

On January 11, 2016, more than 1000 scholars and academics from 90 Turkish Universities and abroad signed a petition entitled "We won't be a party to this crime,"[444] calling for an end to the government's crackdown on the Kurdish activists and politicians, and a resumption of the peace process. They also criticized the use of tanks in urban centers calling it a deliberate massacre of Kurdish people.[445] On January 12, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sharply criticized the dissident academics which included David Harvey, Immanuel Wallerstein, Slavoj Žižek and Noam Chomsky and accused them of being a fifth column of foreign powers.[446] He also called on the Turkish judiciary to move against the "treachery". All 1,228 Turkish signatories were subsequently placed under investigation.[444] Erdoğan invited Chomsky to visit the area in a televised speech to a conference of Turkish ambassadors in Ankara. However Chomsky rejected the offer and said: "If I decide to go to Turkey, it will not be on his invitation, but as frequently before at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds who have been under severe attack for many years." He also accused Erdoğan of aiding ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.[447] On January 14, Düzce University in northwest Turkey dismissed an associate sociology professor after she signed the declaration and On January 15, Erdogan attacked the signatories again, accusing them of supporting the Kurdish rebels and said " having a PhD title doesn't necessarily make you an intellectual. These are people in the dark. They are cruel and despicable."[448] That same day, Turkish authorities arrested 14 signatories, including 12 academics from Kocaeli University, accusing them of spreading "terrorism propaganda" and of insulting the state.[449] U.S. Ambassador John Bass released a statement expressing his concern regarding the arrests. He also said "Expressions of concern about violence do not equal support for terrorism. Criticism of government does not equal treason."[450] On January 16, main opposition leader Kemal Killicdaroglu sharply criticized Erdoğan over detention of dissident academics and called him a dictator. Two days later, lawyers for Turkish President filed a lawsuit against him and a prosecutor from the Ankara prosecutors' office also launched an investigation into his comments on charges of "openly insulting the president", a crime punishable by up to four years in jail.[451][452]

Resignation of UNESCO Ambassador[edit]

On May 25, 2016, the noted Turkish author and poet Zülfü Livaneli resigned as Turkey's only UNESCO goodwill ambassador. In his post on Twitter, he noted "UNESCO's silence on human rights violations and lack of fundamental freedoms." and he also refused to take part in the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. He highlighted destruction of historical Sur district of Diyarbakir as his main reason for resignation.[453]

When [Kurdish region] Sur's historical heritage is being destroyed, I can't with a straight face urge people to protect the historical heritage of Istanbul

Protests in New York[edit]

On March 31, 2016, during a public speech by Erdoğan at the Brookings Institution, his supporters and opponents clashed outside the venue. His security guards assaulted Brooking's employees and ordered a well-known Turkish journalist, Amberin Zaman, to leave, calling her a "P.K.K. whore". Security staff members had to stop the guards from removing other journalists from inside the auditorium. Some Turkish guards were restrained by police officers.[454] National Press Club released a statement and expressed alarm at the events.[455]

Turkey's leader and his security team are guests in the United States. They have no right to lay their hands on reporters or protesters or anyone else for that matter, when the people they are apparently roughing up seemed to be merely doing their jobs or exercising the rights they have in this country.

U.S. State Department 2016 Human Rights Report[edit]

According to the report, in February 2016, Turkish security forces killed at least 130 people, including unarmed civilians, who had taken shelter in the basements of three buildings in the town of Cizre. A domestic NGO, The Human Rights Association (HRA), accused security forces of killing more than 300 civilians in the first eight months of 2016. It also reported retrieval of 171 bodies from three basements in Cizre after February 5. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRF), reported that during the 79 day curfew in Cizre, close to 200 people were killed. On 3 March 2016, HRF's president, Șebnem Korur Fincanci, found a human jawbone in the remains of a basement in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, where according to HRA seven people were killed in February 2016.[456]

International reactions[edit]

Respect for human rights has deteriorated at an alarming speed in recent months in the context of Turkey's fight against terrorism.

  •  European Union - The EU has frequently called for an immediate ceasefire[458] and urged all sides to renew the settlement process with the Kurdish minority in Turkey.[459] On 7 March 2016, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said:[460]

There is a need to restart the Kurdish peace process. The European Union recognizes that PKK is a terrorist organization, but there is a need to re-engage from the Turkish authorities' side with the Kurdish political representatives and the ones that express their position in a peaceful way.

The European Parliament has been highly critical with respect to human rights abuses and denial of political dialogue with respect to the Kurdish issue under the cloak of fight against terrorism in Turkey.[457][461][462] The institutions of the European Union have persistently criticized the broad application of anti-terror legislation as well as a criminal law against "denigrating Turkishness" in Turkey as stifling peaceful advocacy for Kurdish rights.[463][464]

  •  Germany - On 19 January 2016, German Ambassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann has voiced Berlin's unconditional support to Ankara's ongoing fight against the outlawed Kurdistan workers' Party (PKK), while underlining that "a final and permanent solution" to the Kurdish issue could only be found on political grounds. The Ambassador quoted:

Fighting against the PKK and defending itself against the PKK is Turkey's most natural right. However, according to the German federal government's conviction, this problem can reach a final and permanent result only on a political platform.

Conflict in Turkey's south-east has often reflected on Germany's Turkish and Kurdish minorities causing mass riots and the build up of ethnic tensions within Germany.[465][466]

  •  NATO - On 7 July 2015, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed solidarity with Turkey after an emergency session of the military alliance's 28 ambassadors in Brussels. Stoltenberg also expressed NATO is watching the developments "very closely".[467]
  •  Netherlands - On 13 September 2016, Dutch police announced that they would register supports and sympathizers of the PKK into the national police database.[346]
  •  Russia - Russia has frequently denied Turkish accusations of support to the PKK and called on Turkey to politically solve its "Kurdistan Issue", for example in this quote of the Russian Foreign Ministry on 5 June 2016:[468]

We understand that it is difficult for current Turkish leadership to abandon attempts to explain their domestic problems by certain external factors. With the civil conflict with the Kurdish population unremitting, President Erdogan has not found a better justification for toughening the punitive operations in the [Kurdish-populated] southeast than to accuse Russia of supplying arms to the Kurdistan Workers' Party.

  •  United Kingdom - On 14 January 2016, the British Ambassador to Turkey issued a statement on the behalf of the British government condemning the PKK, while calling on the militant organization to halt its attacks against Turkey. The Ambassador stated:[469]

Let me emphasize that we condemn PKK terrorism absolutely. But we don't just make statements – we are also actively clamping down on PKK financing in the U.K., and doing our utmost to disrupt their international network and operations.

  •  United Nations - In May 2016, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein raised an alarm over violence against civilians and alleged human rights abuses in predominantly Kurdish south-east Turkey.[470] He also raised concern over the Turkish government's refusal to allow a UN team to conduct research in the area amid reports that more than a hundred people had burned to death in buildings surrounded by security forces.[470] The Commissioner stated:

More and more information has been emerging from a variety of credible sources about the actions of security forces in the town of Cizre during the extended curfew there from mid-December until early March," he said in a press release. "Most disturbing of all are the reports quoting witnesses and relatives in Cizre which suggest that more than 100 people were burned to death as they sheltered in three different basements that had been surrounded by security forces.

However, the Turkish foreign ministry offered an open invitation to U.N. agencies to visit the country's southeastern provinces after the reports were made and refuted those statements, saying they were "based on insufficient information".[471] According to the UN Commissioner, unarmed civilians, including women and children, were shot by government snipers in the south-east during the clashes and Turkish forces also inflicted significant damage on the local infrastructure.[472] Turkish sources, who's reports were confirmed by the Turkey's foreign ministry had claimed late 2015 that the PKK were hiring foreign national snipers to target civilians and high ranking Military personnel in the same region.[473]

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