Turkey dropped bombs on Iraq and Syria, striking a Kurdish militia that has been accused of training members of the far-left extremist group known as Antifa—a movement that has caused destruction and mayhem throughout the US in riots following the death of George Floyd.
The Turkish Defense Ministry released footage on Friday of an F-16 fighter jet darting off and conducting what was said to be an operation in Iraq's northern Great Zab region that "neutralized" 4 members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to Newsweek.
The outlawed group has been stuck in a three-decade, cross border insurgency with Ankara, which has stepped up its campaign against Kurdish forces in Iraq in the past few days.
Turkish forces and allied rebel groups bombed Kurdish groups in Syria within the Tel Abyad countryside at the northern part of the Raqqa province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor with connections to Syria's exiled opposition. Though the Kurdish Syrian Democratic forces often bear PKK insignia, Turkey insists that the militia is a proxy of the underground group.
As US protests broke out amid the death of George Floyd, Turkey took the chance to highlight the apparent links between the PKK in Syria and the presence of Antifa.
President Donald Trump has expressed his intent to designate Antifa as a terrorist organization over its direct involvement with a number of serious crimes involving arson, assault, and vandalism. It was only days later that the Turkish government issued an official graphic channeling the sentiments of Trump's remarks.
The graphic was published on June 3 and offered a timeline as laid out by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogen's Directorate of Communications and tied the movement to the PKK and People's Protection Units (YPG)—a Syrian Kurdish faction that spearheads the Syrian Democratic Forces.
"Although its full name is Anti-Fascist Movement, some Antifa members trained by the PKK/YPG terrorist organization do not hesitate to carry out acts with an entirely fascist mentality," the poster read, alongside a number of correlating images.
That very same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu encouraged Trump to take a strong stance on Antifa, as well as Kurdish separatist groups.
"When Antifa draws its weapons on Turkish soldiers in Syria and operates with the PKK/YPG to stage attacks on us, allies like America must show the same sensitivity," he said.
"Are they only a terror group when they touch you? But when its Turkey or another country nothing needs to be done? This is not the right approach. If you are declaring Antifa as a terrorist organization you should do the same with the YPG also," he continued.