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Turkey

The Kurdish Question Raises Stakes In Turkey-Syria Tensions

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan targets PKK strongholds along the Syrian border after tensions last month sparked by Syria's shooting down of a Turkish military jet. The move is part of a longstanding conflict over Kurdish minorities who live in b

In the Syrian border town of Qamishli, a protester with a Kurdish and Syrian rebel flag (Freedom House)
In the Syrian border town of Qamishli, a protester with a Kurdish and Syrian rebel flag (Freedom House)

ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced increased measures to counter the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Syria, which he says has moved to seize control of a number of villages along the Syria-Turkey border.

"In the north, President Bashar al-Assad's regime has allotted five provinces to the Kurds, to the terrorist organization," Erdogan said, speaking to top civilian and military officials at a Wednesday security summit. "Of course Turkey will not look warmly on the PKK's offshoot in Syria, the Democratic Union of Kurdistan (PYD). The activities of the separatist terrorist organization in our country and in neighboring countries must been discussed."

This was the first time Erdogan has mentioned the presence of the PKK in Syria. In the late 1990s, Turkey and Syria edged to the brink of war because of Damascus' support of the PKK. The dispute ended when Syria stopped backing the *terrorist organization.

During the summit, Erdogan was asked by a journalist if Turkey would strike fleeing rebels if they attack on Turkish soil, to which Erdogan responded "That's not even a matter of discussion, it is a given. That is the objective. That is what we have been doing and will continue to do in Iraq."

Turkish security forces killed at least 15 PKK terrorists in a raid near the country's border with Iraq on Tuesday, after tracking them with drones and attacking them with helicopters and ground forces.

Turkey may beef up its military presence along the Syrian border, where the PYD and PKK are most active. Turkish troop presence had already increased after Syria downed a Turkish fighter jet last month.

Eye on Qamishli

Turkey will focus operations on the small border town of Qamishli, where the PYD are most active. The PYD is preparing to take control of the town amid reports that the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has sent Syrian Kurds to northern Syria after training them for armed conflict. Video recordingsof men in military uniform, believed to be crossing the Syrian border from northern Iraq, have increased concerns in Ankara. But the KRG has denied the reports.

Meanwhile, the Turkish military has deployed teams trained in dealing with chemical weapon attacks to the Syrian Border. The order comes after Damascus threatened it would use such weapons, should it be attacked by another country.

**This is a digest item, not a direct translation.

*Worldcrunch editorial note: In the Turkish media, the PKK is routinely referred to as a terrorist organization.

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Future

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

As objective as any man

Anto Magzan/ZUMA
Rachel E. Gross

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

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