WATCH: Turkey's New Campaign Against ISIS Leaves Kurds in Uncertain Position

Critics including opposition politicians accuse Turkish President Erdogan of trying to use the campaign against ISIS as an excuse to crack down on Kurds.

AP

REUTERS - Turkish fighter jets and ground forces hit Islamic State militants in Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in Iraq on Saturday, in a campaign Ankara said would help create a "safe zone" across swathes of northern Syria.

The strikes followed Turkey's first-ever air attacks on Islamic State in Syria a day earlier and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference the heightened security operations will go on.

"These operations are not 'one-point operations' and will continue as long as there is a threat against Turkey," he said.

Turkey has dramatically cranked up its role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, which has seized much of Syria's north and east, since a suspected IS suicide bomber killed 32 people this week in a town close to the Syrian border.

It has also pledged to target Kurdish militants, raising concern about the future of the shaky Kurdish peace process. Critics including opposition politicians accuse President Tayyip Erdogan of trying to use the campaign against Islamic State as an excuse to crack down on Kurds.

Turkey was long a reluctant member of the coalition against Islamic State, a stance that annoyed NATO ally Washington, and this weekend's move into the front line appears to be a response to the suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc.

Many of those killed in the Suruc attack were Kurds and it sparked violence in the largely Kurdish southeast by militants who say Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have covertly supported Islamic State against Syrian Kurds.

Ankara denies the accusation.

On Friday, as its planes bombed Islamic State in Syria for the first time, police rounded up hundreds of suspected Islamist and Kurdish militants in cities and towns across Turkey, with nearly 600 people having been detained as of Saturday.

"It is unacceptable that Erdogan and the AKP government have made a fight against the Kurdish people part of their struggle against Islamic State," the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) said in a statement.