Erdogan Announces Major Operation Against PKK

Erdogan Announces Major Operation Against PKK

Turkey is conducting the largest operation in its history against Kurdish fighters in the southeast and the removal of civil servants with links to them is a key element of the fight, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday (September 8).

Steps were being taken to purge supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in public institutions, Erdogan said in a speech to provincial governors in Ankara.

Turkey took over two southeastern councils run by a pro-Kurdish party and suspended more than 11,000 teachers on Thursday as Ankara ratcheted up a crackdown on those it accuses of ties to Kurdish fighters in the southeast.

The crackdown comes as Ankara pushes ahead with a purge against tens of thousands of supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of orchestrating an attempted coup in July. He denies any involvement.

Erdogan also said that Turkey's incursion into northern Syria was going to continue, but insisted, "We don't have ambitions on Syria's land".

Ankara launched a military incursion two weeks ago to try to secure the border region.

Jarablus, which had been held by the Islamic State, was the first town captured by Turkey's army and its Syrian rebel allies in an offensive launched on August 24 that aims to sweep away jihadists and Syrian Kurdish forces from the frontier.