Report

Turkey Targets Kurds with Airstrikes in Iraq, Legal Action in Parliament

Turkey launched its heaviest airstrikes yet since escalating its intervention last week. Last night, Turkish jets attacked shelters, depots, and caves in northern Iraq. The facilities were used by the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which has borne the brunt of Turkey’s escalation. Turkey has not launched strikes against the Islamic State since last Friday. Selahattin ...

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Turkey launched its heaviest airstrikes yet since escalating its intervention last week. Last night, Turkish jets attacked shelters, depots, and caves in northern Iraq. The facilities were used by the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which has borne the brunt of Turkey’s escalation. Turkey has not launched strikes against the Islamic State since last Friday.

Selahattin Demirtas, chairman of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said Turkish efforts to establish a safe zone in Syria were designed to prevent the formation of a Kurdish state and that the government should resume talks with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK). The HDP, a pro-Kurdish leftist party, exceeded expectations by winning 13 percent of the vote in recent parliamentary elections, and Turkey’s escalation comes as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu tries to form a new coalition government. On Tuesday, President Tayyip Erdogan called for parliamentarians with ties to the PKK to have their immunity stripped, a move aimed to reduce the HDP’s influence in government.

Jonathan Pollard to be Released on Parole

Jonathan Pollard, who was arrested in 1985 for espionage after he sold classified documents to Israel, will be released on parole this November after serving 30 years of a life sentence, his lawyer announced yesterday. Pollard’s release is the result of a U.S. mandatory parole review and not tied to the Iran nuclear deal. In response to the news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had raised Pollard’s release consistently in meetings with the White House and that “We are looking forward to his release.”

Headlines

  • Pro-Assad forces and Kurdish militias have pushed the Islamic State out of the northeastern Syrian city of Hasaka.

 

  • The United Nations urged the parties to the conflict in Yemen to try implementing a humanitarian ceasefire again after the collapse of a truce on Monday; U.N. officials say they have a plan to provide aid to 3 million Yemenis if fighting stops.

 

  • Iran has announced upcoming “high-level” talks between Iran and the European Union on topics including environmental policy, energy, and counterterrorism; the announcement comes after a visit to Tehran by top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini.

 

  • At least 25 people were killed in a fire at a furniture factory in Obour, Egypt, north of Cairo.

 

  • The Israeli government has announced the construction of 300 housing units at the West Bank settlement of Beit El, where residents are frustrated after the Israeli Supreme Court ordered units destroyed recently; the Israeli government also said it was going forward with new construction in East Jerusalem.

Arguments and Analysis

What Syrians actually think of a peace deal” (Steven Heydemann and Annika Folkeson, The Monkey Cage)

“Political representation is at the heart of the issue. Who should participate in negotiations? What is the size of their presence and support on the ground in Syria? The findings show that together various opposition alternatives to the Assad regime receive support from almost half of Syrians across the country. Yet, disconcertingly, nearly one quarter of respondents say that either no party represents them or they do not know. Reflecting the failure of Syria’s external opposition to secure internal legitimacy, only 16.8 percent of Syrians across all surveyed areas believe that the National Coalition represents them in negotiations. Even in opposition-controlled areas, belief in the coalition is only slightly more favorable with 19 percent. The Assad regime fares little better. Only 16.1 percent of respondents nationwide support the regime, and it was viewed as representative by just 39.1 percent of the population in areas under its own control. These findings demonstrate a major crisis of political representation, whether in areas under regime or opposition control.”

 

Turkey, Syria, and the United States: Quagmires Are Us” (Steven A. Cook, From the Potomac to the Euphrates)

“It is true that the Turks have gotten more serious about the threat of the Islamic State, especially since the Suruc bombing on July 20, but Ankara, which has grown increasingly uncomfortable as the Kurds have made gains against Islamic State forces in Syria, is primarily interested in suppressing Kurdish nationalism. This has placed Washington in the odd position of having essentially given the go-ahead to its most reluctant ally in the fight against the Islamic State to combat some of the most effective fighters in that conflict — the Kurds, both the Turkish Kurds of the PKK and the affiliated forces of their Syrian cousins, the People’s Protection Units, known by the acronym YPG — under the guise of combatting the same enemy. This seems like a steep price to pay for the use of Incirlik while threatening to draw the United States into a war with no end.”

-J. Dana Stuster

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

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