The aftermath of Turkish airstrikes on a house at Sarkan village of Choman district, about 95 km northeast of Erbil which resulted in the killing of four people who had gone to the area for a picnic to celebrate Newroz. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iraq’s Foreign Ministry condemned Turkey’s deadly airstrikes on mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region, while an official said Iraq does not need Ankara’s help dealing with the PKK.
“We are condemning continued attacks and border transgressions by Turkey,” read a statement from the Foreign Ministry. “We are condemning Turkey’s airstrikes against villages of Soran district as they have resulted in the martyrdom of civilians.”
Four young men were killed in Turkish airstrikes early Thursday morning after staying overnight in the mountains following a Newroz picnic. The PUK said the four, identified as Shera Mahmud, Kaka Mustafa Warti, Mohammed Ismael Warti, and Darbaz Mohammed, were party members and denied that there were any armed activities in the area that came under Turkish fire.
Turkey claimed to have “neutralized” nine “PKK terrorists.”
“Such border transgressions will not serve relations between Turkey and Iraq,” the Foreign Ministry stated, adding that it also opposed the use of Iraqi land to carry out activities against any neighboring country.
The two neighbours look to be headed towards a dispute over the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara that has its headquarters in the Kurdistan Region’s Qandil mountains and also has positions in Shingal.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened military action against the PKK at these sites, extending his country’s military operation against Kurdish groups in northern Syria into Iraq.
An Iraqi parliament official said Baghdad does not need assistance from Turkey if it wants to expel PKK fighters from Iraq.
“If Iraq is serious about wanting to expel PKK fighters from the northern part of the country, it does not need Turkey at all and it is capable enough to do it itself,” Hakim Zamli, head of the security and defense committee in the Iraqi parliament, said in a press conference.
Zamli alleged there is a “systematic and organized plot” to deteriorate security in the area.
Officials in Ankara have claimed that they have an agreement with Baghdad for a joint military operation against the PKK. This has been denied by Iraq’s foreign minister.
Zamli said the parliament’s security committee will meet with the Iraqi government in the near future to discuss Ankara’s allegations.
“The parliament does not have knowledge about any agreement between Ankara and Baghdad to carry out military assaults on the Iraqi border to expel the Kurdistan Workers Party [PKK] fighters,” he said.
His committee wants clarification from the Iraqi government regarding any possible deal to jointly strike the PKK.