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Turkey accuses PKK militants of executing 13 Turkish captives in Iraqi Kurdistan

Turkey could use the deaths as justification to launch an operation against the PKK in Yazidi-dominated Sinjar, something Ankara has been lobbying Baghdad to greenlight.
Turkish tanks are seen near the Habur crossing gate between Turkey and Iraq during a military drill on September 18, 2017.  
Turkey launched a military drill featuring tanks close to the Iraqi border the army said, a week before Iraq's Kurdish region will hold an independence referendum on September 25. / AFP PHOTO / STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants have killed 13 Turkish hostages, identified mostly as servicemen and policemen, in a cave complex in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s mountainous Gare area where the militants are known to have multiple bases, Turkish officials said Feb. 14.

The news has had a bombshell effect and risks escalating ethnic tensions between Turks and the country’s large Kurdish minority. The hashtag “Kahrolsun PKK" — which is Turkish for “May the PKK be damned” — was trending on Turkish Twitter as Al-Monitor went to press.

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