Key events in a month of Turkish unrest

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[This is a compilation of recent events that are shaping the current situation in Turkey and Kurdistan. -Uziel]

Istanbul (AFP) – Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack on Wednesday and militants in Istanbul launched an attack on the palace housing the prime minister’s offices.

Here are the main developments since a huge attack in Suruc on July 20 that sparked a major “anti-terror” campaign against the Kurdish militants and Islamic State (IS) jihadists in Syria.

– July 20: 33 people killed in a suicide bombing in the predominantly-Kurdish town of Suruc near the border with Syria with Turkish officials pointing the finger at the IS group. Many Kurds accuse Ankara of complicity with IS militants.

– July 22: The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) kills two Turkish policemen to avenge the Suruc attack.

– July 23: Jihadists inside Syria open fire on a Turkish army border post, prompting Turkish tanks to fire back.

– July 24: Turkish jets bomb IS targets inside Syria for the first time, then later strike PKK militants in northern Iraq. More than 1,000 suspected IS jihadists, Kurdish militants and Marxists arrested in dawn raids.

– July 25: Turkey intensifies air strikes on IS jihadists and Kurdish militants in Iraq, prompting the PKK’s military wing to say conditions for maintaining a ceasefire with Turkey “have been eliminated”.

– July 28: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says “it is not possible” to pursue the peace process with the PKK.

– July 29: Turkey approves US use of the strategic Incirlik air base for strikes against IS positions.

– August 5: Turkey says ready for a “comprehensive” fight against the IS in Syria. US bombs IS targets in the first strike staged from Turkish territory.

– August 9: The US deploys half a dozen F-16 warplanes and 300 troops to Incirlik to help anti-IS operations.

– August 10: Five Turkish police officers are killed by a roadside bomb and a soldier dies in an attack on a military helicopter in separate incidents in Sirnak province blamed on the PKK. In Istanbul, a car explodes outside a police station, and two women open fire at the US consulate in an attack claimed by a far-left group.

– August 19: Eight Turkish soldiers killed in a bomb attack in the southeastern province of Siirt blamed on the PKK. Erdogan says Turkey is heading towards snap polls after efforts to form a coalition collapse.

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