Turkey is using the cover of its Nato-backed airstrikes on Isis to target Kurdish militants in Iraq as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan steps up his response to a series of recent attacks by PKK fighters at home.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) says the airstrikes are part of Erdogan's toughening stance against the Kurds as well as in retaliation for the party's strong showing at the polls in June which prevented his Justice and Development Party from gaining a majority.

IBTimes UK spoke to activist and editor at the Kurdish Question Memed Aksoy about the plight of the Kurds as well as Erdogan's warning to them that peace talks will not take place until they lay down their arms.

Turkey has recently joined the fight against Isis after it was hit by attacks including one that left 32 people dead in the town of Suruc earlier in July.

Nato backed the country's request to participate in the fight against Isis, but urged it not to undermine the Kurdish peace process.

Other reports also warned that a recent plan to establish a buffer zone along Turkey's border with Syria to counter Isis is also another cover-up to stop Kurdish rebels from forming their own state.

Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)

The PKK is a Kurdish militant organisation founded in the Turkish district of Lice in 1978 by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan, who is serving a life sentence after being arrested in 1999. He was originally sentenced to death after being charged with forming an armed gang. The death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

The PKK originally engaged in an armed struggle against Turkey for the creation of an independent Kurdistan and the recognition of the right to self-determination to Kurds. The group carried out targeted attacks against Turkish officials and military.

However, following Öcalan's arrest, the PKK adopted a new line based on Democratic Confederalism and, in 2013, declared a ceasefire and started withdrawing its fighters following the beginning of a peace process with Turkey.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by some states such as Turkey and the US. However, since it joined an ongoing fight against IS - which controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq where it established an Islamic caliphate - the group as gained a more positive connotation.