Turkey calls Nato talks on IS and PKK
Turkey has called a special meeting of Nato ambassadors to discuss military operations against the Islamic State (IS) group and PKK Kurdish separatists.
The session is to take place in Brussels on Tuesday.
Turkey launched air attacks against IS militants in Syria and resumed air raids against PKK camps in northern Iraq following recent attacks.
In one attack blamed on IS, 32 people were killed in a suicide bombing near the Syrian border on 20 July.
The PKK killed Turkish police in the wake of the bombing in retaliation for what they saw as Turkey’s collaboration with IS.
The raids against Kurdish separatist camps in northern Iraq in effect ended a two-year ceasefire. Turkish fighter jets launched a new wave on Sunday against PKK targets in northern Iraq, according to Turkish state media.
A PKK spokesman told the AFP news agency that Turkish jets had bombed two positions north of Dohuk and north of Irbil.
Late on Saturday a car bomb attack on a military convoy in south-eastern Turkey killed two soldiers and injured four others, Turkish officials said.
A policeman was killed on Sunday in Istanbul when protests erupted in response to the death of a female activist during raids by security forces on Friday.
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told BBC World TV the Turkish request was based on Article 4 of the Nato Treaty which allows members to request such a meeting if their territorial integrity or security is threatened.
“When Turkey requests for such a meeting I think it’s very right and very timely to have a meeting where we address the turmoil and the instability we see in Syria, Iraq and surrounding and close to Nato borders of Turkey.”
He said he had spoken to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu two days ago, expressing condolences for the loss of life and giving backing to Turkey’s actions against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIL.
“I… also commended him and Turkey for stepping up their efforts to fight ISIL and to fight terrorism and to also increase control over their borders and to stem the flow of foreign fighters. ”
The US has called on both Turkey and the PKK to avoid violence, but said Turkey had the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels.
Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter IS said on Twitter: “We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful ‘solution process’ for a just and sustainable peace.”
He added: “There is no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify US-Turkey cooperation against ISIL.”
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Istanbul says the fear is growing there that the bad old days of Turkey’s Kurdish conflict might return.
He says that if Turkey becomes embroiled in its own civil conflict, that will seriously complicate its role in the coalition and potentially hamper the West’s strategy against the jihadists.
This is a critical moment in the fight against Islamic State and in the stability of Turkey itself, he adds.