On 24 May Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) militants clashed with the PKK in the border town of Kelashin in Iraqi Kurdistan, 45km northeast of the district capital of Soran (Diana), leaving two KDPI fighters dead. Tensions between the KDPI and PKK have been visibly escalating this month leading up to the skirmish last week. In early May a young Kurdish woman reportedly leaped to her death from a window in the Iranian Kurdish city of Mahabad to avoid being raped by an Iranian intelligence operative. The incident sparked outrage in Iranian Kurdistan and led to an increase in KDPI operations, resulting in daily clashes between local Kurds and Iranian security forces around Mahabad. In turn, this heightened KDPI activity quickly trod on PKK toes.
For Turkey, this recent clash is not simply about territory or revenue: Ankara believes the PKK is digging in for a longer-term conflict.