Turkey says its warplanes have hit suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq

Turkish warplanes carried out new airstrikes Wednesday against Kurdish militant targets in neighboring Iraq, the Turkish defense ministry said, a day after Turkish and Iraqi officials held high-level security talks in Ankara.

Turkey often launches strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq that it believes to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a banned Kurdish separatist group that has waged an insurgency against Turkey since the 1980s.

According to a statement from the ministry, the fighter jets struck a total of 14 suspected PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Gara, Hakourk and Qandil regions where the aircraft destroyed caves, shelters and warehouses used by the militants. Measures were taken to avoid harming civilians, historic or cultural heritage and the environment, the ministry added.

There was no immediate comment from the PKK, the government in Baghdad or the administration in the semiautonomous northern Kurdish region in Iraq.

Ankara maintains that PKK has sanctuaries in northern Iraq, where its leadership is also purportedly based.

On Tuesday, top military and security officials led by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein met in Ankara to discuss security issues, including the threat from PKK, according to a communique released at the end of the meeting.

PKK is considered a terror organization by the United States and the European Union. Tens of thousands of people have died since the start of the conflict in 1984.

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