Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish warplanes launched a series of air strikes on northern Iraq late on Tuesday

The region is home to several bases used by Kurdish separatists from the PKK that Ankara regards as terrorists – and frequently targets with its military.

“After 10:00 last night, the Turkish warplanes hit some areas near the border in three locations,” Colonel Hussein Tamr told the media.

“It lasted more than an hour. We went there after the attacks finished. We found no casualties and no material damage because the attacks took place on the outskirts of these villages,” he added.

Ankara's claims of a bloodless strike were not independently confirmed.

However, on 29 December 2011, Turkish airstrikes in Kurdistan killed 23 cigarette smugglers Ankara had mistaken for sepratist fighters.

Tuesday's strikes came one day after Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan castigated Israel for the "massacre" caused by IAF airstrikes targeting terrorists in Gaza.

During four days of intense fighting, Gaza terrorists fired over 200 rockets at Israel's southern towns, while the IAF responded with airstrikes.

The IAF launched a total of 37 airstrikes in Gaza during the four day exchange. 19 strikes targeted rocket-launchers and 18 targeted weapons warehouses.

Between 25 and 27 Gazans were killed in the IAF airstrikes. Of these, at least 22 were terrorists.

Unlike Turkey, Israel was responding to a clear and immediate threat to its civilian population by terrorists actively engaged in hostilities.

IDF commanders say Gaza's terror factions, who were launching their rockets from densely populated areas, were using civilians as "human shields."

Observers say the Turkish strikes, which appear to have served no military purpose, were likely staged as a propaganda ploy to serve Erdogan's now-customary bellicose rhetoric towards the Jewish state.