One minute read. Written by Samya Singh, a grade 8 student.
To know this, let’s first understand who the Kurds are and what’s the fight between them and the Turks.
Who are the Kurds?
The Kurds are an Iranian ethnic group in the Middle East. They don’t have a country and they mostly live in the mountainous areas on the borders of Turkey, Syria, Iraq Iran and Armenia (see map). Majority of them are Sunni Muslims.
Between 25 and 35 million Kurds live in the region and they make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East.
Why Does Turkey Want to Bomb them?
To answer this, you’ll need to know a brief background about the Kurds and what they want. The Kurds actually have no country. But they want one. Hence, there is a conflict between Kurds and the Turkish government. There are many Kurdish groups that are fighting for separation from Turkey and want part of where they live to be their land – to be an independent country called Kurdistan – or at least to have autonomy (independence to make their own decisions) and also more political and cultural rights for Kurds inside the Republic of Turkey.
The main rebel group is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK. The Turkish military has carried out frequent ground incursions and air and artillery strikes against the Kurds as a reply to their revolt. In short, Turkey wants to crush their rebellion and is not in favour of them creating Kurdistan.
The Turks are not the only ones attacking the Kurds. In mid-2013, the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) also started attacking them. They targeted the Kurdish areas that bordered territory under their control in northern Syria. Fighting between them has been going on since then.
So, what’s happening now?
Turkey has launched airstrikes, fired artillery and began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. There were U.S. troops in the region till recently (who were protecting the Kurds) but they pulled back (on orders of the U.S. President, Mr. Trump). So, it’s not become easy for Turkey to attack the Kurds. Mr Trump has been criticized a lot for giving these orders, as it is being seen as a betrayal for the Kurds, who have in the past helped the Americans to fight the IS.