Iraq summons Turkish envoy over deadly drone strike

Cheryl Sanders
August 13, 2020

Iraq has summoned the Turkish ambassador after an air strike in northern Iraq killed Iraqi police officers who were engaged in discussions with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit Thursday discussed with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein the recent developments of the region and the Turkish "aggression" on the Iraqi lands.

Turkey has regularly attacked Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, both in its mainly Kurdish southeast and in northern Iraq, where the group is based.

The strike killed two border guard battalion commanders and the driver of their vehicle, the army said in a statement.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has summoned the Turkish ambassador on at least two other occasions this year over similar air raids on PKK targets in the northern border region, repeatedly slamming the operations as violations of Iraqi sovereignty.

Witnesses had reported clashes earlier in the day between PKK and Iraqi forces, and local sources said the drone strike targeted an emergency meeting called to try to calm the tensions.

On Wednesday, Iraqi President Barham Salih called on Ankara to "stop all its military operations" in the region. Tuesday's strike appears to be the first to kill regular Iraqi forces since the start of Turkey's latest military campaign in Iraq.

Though Ankara has yet to publicly address the high-ranking casualties in the strike, the country's defense ministry reported that it had "neutralized" two PKK fighters in an "air operation" over northern Iraq on Tuesday night.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984.

Both Arbil and Baghdad see Turkey's military presence in the Kurdish region as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty, but neither wants to alienate Turkey, a major trading partner and regional heavyweight.

Other reports by iNewsToday