LONDON: The enemy of your enemy is your enemy, or so it is for Turkey as the country’s new “anti terror” campaign targets both Islamic State militants and anti-Islamic State Kurdish forces.

Turkey -- which has thus far remained on the fringes of the coalition targeting the Islamic State -- carried out its first strikes against IS targets on July 24, marking a decisive shift in policy and adding a new context to the battle against the militant group. Just a day later, however, Turkish forces struck Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) "logistics points" in northern Iraq -- points that the Kurds use for the PKK’s fight against the Islamic State.

The Kurds -- whom have international support most importantly in the form of the United States -- share a troubled history with Turkey, having been fighting for autonomy from the Turkish state for decades.

Although the international coalition welcomes Turkey’s response, the whole thing is quite confusing. Kurdish fighters are amongst the US’ most effective allies in the region. They include Kurdish fighters from Iraq (the peshmerga), Syria (the People's Defense Units, or YPG), and Turkey (PKK) -- all of whom coordinate with each other and work together. The US maintains that it works with the peshmerga and the YPG, but insists it has nothing to do with the PKK. The State Department lists the PKK as a "Foreign Terrorist Organization,” hence its decision to not coordinate with PKK forces. It’s a different story that the groups that the US does coordinate with coordinate directly with the PKK. A Global Post Senior Correspondent, Richard Hall, has it right when he says that the PKK is a “silent partner” in the US’ fight against the Islamic State.

However, because it does not officially support the PKK, the US cannot condemn Turkey bombing PKK targets -- even if it does compromise the fight against IS. As Turkey announced that it was targeting IS and PKK points, the US has to confront the fact that its new public partner was bombing its silent partner.

What we heard on the international stage was the usual rhetoric: State Department Spokesperson John Kirby claimed that the US government recognized "Turkey's right to defend itself against terrorists." More importantly, although Turkey called the two-pronged attacks part of a single "anti-terror" campaign, Kirby said the anti-PKK strikes were "separate and distinct from the fight against ISIL.” “These are two separate things,” he insisted.

The fact that these are not two separate things is evinced by how the Kurds have reacted. “Instead of targeting Isis terrorist occupied positions, Turkish forces attack our defenders’ positions,” the YPG said in a statement as quoted in The Global Post. “We urge [the] Turkish leadership to halt this aggression and to follow international guidelines. We are telling the Turkish army to stop shooting at our fighters and their positions.”

In a statement from the Kurdish National Congress sent to The Citizen, the group maintained that the Turkish fighter jets were bombing their ‘guerillas’ and the civilians in South Kurdistan that essentially lies in Iraq. “Yesterday on the 24th of July, at 10:55pm Turkish jets have bombed Kurdish areas (Xakurke, Qandil, Behdinan, Zap, Gare, Basye, Amedia, and Avasin) in south Kurdistan where mostly PKK guerrillas and civilians are situated. This attacks are still continuing.”

The AKP government authorized Turkish military and air force to bomb these civilian areas, including in Xakurke and the Enze village in Qandil. Reports from local sources indicate that a number of civilians were injured during these attacks, with villages, farms and homes destroyed,” the statement read. Clearly according to this the Turkish targets were not what its government claimed to be the Islamic State, but really all those opposing the regime in Ankara.

The Kurds said that this attack was an attempt by Turkey to end the ceasefire porposed by their leader Abdullah Ocalan. And that the military attack followed “provocations” that failed to draw a violent reaction from the Kurds. The ongoing attack on Kurdish positions, according to the statement , “highlights that this policy of annihilation against the Kurds is still very much ongoing and on the agenda” of the Turkish government.

Interestingly, according to the Kurds--- a claim backed by the Syrian government as well---the collaboration between the AKP government of Turkey and the Islamic State is strengthening in Syria. The statement maintains, “the AKP government has supported ISIS militants in Syria to prevent the Kurdish efforts towards democracy and revolution in Rojava. This support by Turkey has included access to weapons, access to the Rojava-Turkey border crossings and extensive medical support for ISIS militants. This level of support is ongoing, and it is a mistake to believe that the limited bombings overnight in the Syria on selective ISIS weapons warehouses is an indication of Turkey’s shift in policy.”

The Kurds are clear that the ongoing assault by Turkey on the Kurdish guerilla bases “is to explicitly impair the Kurdish fight against ISIS. The attack over night against the PKK will only give ISIS a moral boost and support in its fight against humanity.”

The KNK has called on the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), all Kurdish political parties, civil society groups and NGOs to stand against these attacks, “because this is not just an assault against the PKK but all Kurds.”

The Turkish police also launched raids against purportedly IS but largely Kurdish militants across the country, arresting 297 people. The arrests included members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and of a far-left group, the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C).

Turkey’s response is located in the context of two incidents. Last week, PKK's military wing said it killed two Turkish police officers. PKK also said that it collaborated with IS in the bombing of a Kurdish activists' group on Monday that killed 32 people. The suicide attack took place in the Turkish town of Suruc, just 10 km from the town of Kobani across the Turkish-Syrian border. The area has seen pitched fighting as Kobani has acquired centre stage in the battle against the Islamic State, with international-coalition backed Kurdish militias taking on the sunni militant group.

Turkey’s response most certainly marks a decisive shift -- but its consequences remain to be seen.