Iraq asked Turkey’s ambassador to tell his government to stop attacks that violate its sovereignty and target civilians in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq.
“The Iraqi government protested the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty and the bombardments of border areas and the targeting of innocent civilians in Kurdistan,” the Baghdad-based Foreign Ministry said today in a statement posted on the website of state-sponsored Iraqiya television. “The Iraqi government asks for an immediate halt to these operations.”
Turkey killed as many as 100 members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in air and ground bombardments on 481 targets in northern Iraq, the General Staff in Ankara said in a preliminary report on its website yesterday. More than 80 PKK members were wounded, the Turkish military said, adding that the operations will continue.
Increasing violence threatens to derail efforts to resolve Turkey’s Kurdish issue and end a three-decade conflict that has cost 40,000 lives. The air and ground operation follows an escalation of attacks by the PKK, classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union. The PKK, which is fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey, has long used northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkish targets. Kurds in Iran have also been accused of using northern Iraq to engage in armed clashes with Iranian forces.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, an ethnic Kurd, yesterday denounced Turkish and Iranian bombardments of Kurdish areas in northern Iraq. He said Iraq, Turkey and the U.S. had formed a security committee to resolve the conflicts.