07/25/2015, 00.00
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Ankara unleashes air raids and arrests against Islamic jihadists and Kurdish militants

by Sami Osman
Jihadist bases in Syria and PKK locations in northern Iraq targeted. 320 people arrested in 22 provinces of Turkey. They include suspected Islamic state militants and Kurdish militants. Demonstration in Istanbul dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets. Mounting tensions ahead of tomorrow's a big demonsration "for peace" invoked by the Kurds.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The Turkish Air Force this morning carried out a second series of air strikes to hit Islamic state bases in Syria, after the one targeted yesterday. At the same time, it has also launched raids into northern Iraq against PKK bases, the Kurdistan Workers Party, considered a terrorist group, who are struggling for an independent Kurdish state.

The same double strike against IS and against Kurdish militants, has resulted in a series of arrests that the Turkish police is carrying out in different cities of the country, after a week of IS violence and terrorist attacks against young Kurdish militants in Suruc, that left 32 dead.

In response to the Ankara government's inaction against IS, indeed they are suspected of supporting them, the PKK killed two policemen.

Between yesterday and this morning, the Turkish security forces arrested at least 320 people, including suspected sympathizers of the IS and PKK members in 22 provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara, Adana, Konya and Manisa.

In what has become a daily occurance since the Suruc massacre, last night in Istanbul there was an anti-IS and anti-Erdogan demonstration. The police dispersed protesters using tear gas and rubber bullets.

Meanwhile, thousands of people are expected tomorrow afternoon for a "peace march" called by the pro-Kurdish Selahattin Dermitas, who got an excellent result at the last election.

Many analysts applaud the new step taken by Ankara in the fight against Islamic terrorism. So far Turkey was suspected of helping IS, allowing the passage of new recruits and weapons from its territory and buying the oil in the possession of the jihadists. However, this  escalation against the Kurds also shows Erdogan's real interest to stem and prevent the growth of separatist ambitions among the Kurds, who make up about a sixth of the Turkish population, and are suspected of wanting to unite with the Kurds in Syria and Iraq.

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