Baghdad calls for ‘immediate end’ to Turkish offensive in Kurdistan Region
The spokesperson for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi condemned Ankara for its ongoing military operation across the north of the country in a strongly worded statement released Saturday evening.
“We strongly reject and condemn these actions that harm the close, long-standing relations between the two friendly nations,” Ahmed Mulla Talal wrote in a statement published to Telegram, urging for an “immediate” halt to Ankara’s offensive.
Turkey began fresh air and ground military operations in the Kurdistan Region and disputed territories in mid-June, with the stated aim of removing suspected Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets from the area. Five civilians have been confirmed killed by Turkish airstrikes.
Talal described Turkey’s offensive as “detrimental” to “regional peace,” accusing Ankara of violating Iraqi sovereignty.
Iraq’s foreign ministry previously summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, but has failed to halt Turkey’s offensive.
The spokesperson says Iraq has already sent two letters to Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq, and says Baghdad will be forced to resort to “international law” to stop Ankara.
“We hold the Turkish side responsible for the legal and moral responsibility for all the human and material losses that occur,” he added.
Turkey’s offensive, according to the statement, violates “the stability, territorial integrity and security of the [Iraqi] people.”
Scores of villages in the Kurdistan Region border areas have been emptied amid years of Turkish airstrikes.
In a statement released last Friday, the Turkish defense ministry denied that its military has ever harmed civilians, and said it only targets “terrorists.”
UN officials have already voiced concern that Iraq has not raised the issue of Turkish airstrikes with the UN Security Council.
“On the Turkish-Iraqi conflict, we see this with concern. There has not been a demand for this item to be on the agenda of the security council,” Christoph Heusgen, German Ambassador to the United Nations told Rudaw.
The US State Department last week called for coordination between Turkey, Iraq, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to “defeat” the PKK, an armed group fighting for greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.
“The United States calls on Turkey and Iraq, including the KRG, to work together to defeat the PKK,” a spokesperson told Rudaw late Wednesday.
Iraqi border forces in Zakho have set up bases in “strategic” positions in order to de-escalate clashes between Turkish forces and the PKK. Source