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Turkey

Border countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iraq, Iran, Syria

Turkey is involved in a non-international armed conflict on its territory against the Kurdistan Worker's Party. The conflict extends into Iraq, hence Turkey is also involved in the non-international armed conflicts in Iraq and an international armed conflict with Iraq. Turkey is also a party to the non-international and international armed conflicts in Syria and occupies part of northern Syria.

Turkey is currently a party to a series of armed conflicts. For further information on who is considered a party to an armed conflict, see ‘contemporary challenges – multinational forces: who is a party to the conflict?’ in our classification section.

 

  • Turkey is a party to the non-international armed conflicts in Iraq, but not as part of the international coalition led by the United States: Against the background of the renewed non-international armed conflict in Turkey, Turkey launched airstrikes targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK in northern Iraq in July 2015. C. Yeginsu, 'Turkey Attacks Kurdish Militant Camps in Northern Iraq', The New York Times, 25 July 2015; C. Letsch and Reuters, 'Turkey Steps Up Bombing of Kurdish Targets in Iraq', The Guardian, 29 July 2015. In September 2015, Turkish troops entered Iraq for the first time in over two years to pursue suspected PKK members. ‘Turkey Sends Ground Forces into Iraq After Militant Attack’, BBC, 8 September 2015. Moreover, in December 2015, Turkey sent additional troops to protect their base set up near the Iraqi city of Mosul, used to provide training to Iraqi militia fighting against the Islamic State group. The Iraqi government condemned the Turkish incursion without its consent as a violation of their sovereignty. During discussions before the Security Council, the Iraqi ambassador qualified the Turkish incursion as a ‘ serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty and the principles of international law relating to good-neighbourly relations, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of Member States, in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations’ and pointed out that ‘ such military movements constitute a hostile act under established international rules and norms.’ The Turkish representative argued that the increased troop presence was necessary to protect their camp against Islamic State group attacks and highlighted that ‘Turkey has been under attack not only by Daesh but also by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization’, based in Iraq. ‘It is our right to exercise self-defence’, as ‘both Daesh and the PKK continue to pose significant threats to Turkey’s safety and security from areas beyond the reach of the Iraqi Government'. 7589th meeting of the Security Council,  UN doc S/PV.7589, 18 December 2015. See also Letter Dated 11 December 2015 from the Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations Addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN doc S/2015/963, 14 December 2015;  Letter Dated 7 January 2016 from the Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Addressed to the President of the Security Council, UN doc S/2016/6, 11 January 2016. The airstrikes against the PKK continued in 2016,  2017 and January 2018. See for example 'Turkey Hits Kurdish Targets After Ankara Bombing', Al Jazeera, 19 February 2016; I. Sariyuce, J. Sterling, and H. Atay Alam, 'Turkish Warplanes Wallop Syria, Iraq Targets', CNN, 29 August 2016; M. R. Gordon and K. Kakol, 'Turkish STrikes Target Kurdish Allies of U.S. in Raq and Syria', The New York Times, 25 April 2017; 'Turkish Airstrikes Kill 49 Kurdish Militants in Northern Iraq - Army', Reuters, 1 February 2018. The Iraqi government condemned the Turkish airstrikes as a flagrant violation of its sovereignty. In discussions before the Security Council, the Iraqi representative pointed out that 'on 25 April 2017, in a clear and flagrant violation of our sovereignty, good neighbourliness, the rules of international humanitarian law and the Charter of the United Nations, Turkish forces illegally entered Iraqi airspace and territory by bombarding the Mount Sinjar region of northern Iraq with more than 20 bombs'. 7945th meeting of the Security Council, UN doc S/PV.7945, 22 May 2017, p 18.   In October 2017 and January 2018, Turkey reportedly launched new ground operations in northern Iraq against the PKK. 'Turkish Army Engages in Northern Iraq for the First Time in Nine Years', Hürryiet Daily News, 18 October 2017; 'Turkey Launches First Ground Operation in Northern Iraq', AMN, 14 January 2018. Due to its use of force in Iraq without the consent of the Iraqi government, Turkey is a party to the international armed conflict in Iraq.

 

 

 

 

Last updated: Monday 4th February 2019