Turkey continues operations against Kurdish militants in Iraq

Turkey continues operations against Kurdish militants in Iraq following deadly drone strike
2 min read
13 August, 2020
Turkey's presence in Iraq continues.
Turkey said it intends to continue operations in northern Iraq [Getty/ Archive]

Turkey intends to continue operations in northern Iraq against Kurdish militants, the Turkish foreign ministry has revealed.

Ankara warned Baghdad that its military presence in the region will continue and urged Iraqi authorities to cooperate.

This comes as a Turkish air strike in northern Iraq killed two members of Iraq’s border guard, Iraq’s military said.

It called the attack a “flagrant aggression,” Reuters reported.

In response, Baghdad cancelled a visit by Turkey’s defence minister, and told the Turkish ambassador of “Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country’s attacks and violations”.

Turkish forces have often clashed with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, prompting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to launch Operation Claw Tiger.

“Our country is ready to cooperate with Iraq on this issue.

However, in the event PKK presence in Iraq is overlooked, our country is determined to take the measures it deems necessary for its border security no matter where it may be,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.

“We call on Iraq to take the necessary steps for this.”

Drone strike widens fissure

Iraqi officials said on Tuesday they were cancelling a visit by Turkey's defence minister and summoning the country's ambassador after a Turkish drone killed two high-ranking Iraqi officers.

The Turkish envoy will be given "a letter of protest with strong words" categorically rejecting aggression from Ankara, Iraq's foreign ministry said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Turkish drone strike killed two senior Iraqi security officials, Iraq's military said, marking the first time Turkey's operation to root out Kurdish rebels in Iraq's north produced fatalities among high-ranking Iraqi personnel.

The drone targeted a vehicle belonging to the Border Guards in the Bradost area, north of Irbil, the military statement said, causing the deaths of two commanders and the vehicle's driver.

Gen. Mohammed Rushdi, commander of the Border Guards' 2nd Brigade and Brig. Zubair Hali, commander of the 3rd Regiment, were killed in the attack Ihsan Chelebi, the mayor of Bradost, said. He said they had been establishing new posts in the area.

Two Iraqi security officials said the Border Guard commanders were meeting secretly with members of the Kurdistan Worker's Party, or PKK, during the attack.

Turkey considers the PKK a terrorist organization and has bombed their positions inside northern Iraq in several operations. Turkey launched an offensive in mid-June in northern Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organisation.

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