Turkish fighter jets attacked Kurdish insurgent camps in Iraq for a second night on Sunday, security sources said, in a campaign that could end its peace process with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Four Turkish F-16 fighter jets were deployed from the Diyarbakir air base in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast region, hit PKK targets in Hakurk in northern Iraq, the sources told Reuters.
Ankara, which called for a special NATO meeting on Tuesday to discuss its security concerns, said two of soldiers were killed and four wounded in the latest attack by PKK militants.
Long a reluctant member of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, Turkey made a dramatic turnaround this week by granting the alliance access to its air bases and launching air raids against both the jihadist movement and the PKK.
But the relapse into serious conflict between Turkey and the PKK has raised doubts about the future of NATO member Turkey’s peace process with Kurdish foes that started in 2012, after 28 years of bloodshed, but has recently stalled.
The strike came after a car bomb and roadside explosives hit a passing military vehicle on a highway near Diyarbakir overnight on Sunday, the army said. Kurdish militants then opened fire on the vehicle with rifle fire, it said. Four other soldiers were wounded.
The PKK, which Ankara and Washington deem a terrorist group, has also targeted police officers in the southeast and elsewhere, accusing the Islamist-rooted central government of covertly helping Islamic State to the detriment of Syrian Kurds.
The outlawed PKK has waged an insurgency against Ankara for Kurdish autonomy since 1984. Opposition politicians and critics accuse President Tayyip Erdogan of taking up the campaign against Islamic State as political cover to clamp down on Kurds.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who has said the operations will continue as long as Turkey faces a threat, discussed security with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a telephone call overnight.