Iraq's foreign ministry summons Turkish ambassador over Sinjar airstrikes

Published 14.12.2018 00:00
Updated 14.12.2018 19:33

Iraq's foreign ministry said Friday it has summoned Turkey's ambassador to protest Turkish airstrikes on PKK positions in northern Iraq.

The ministry said in a statement Friday that it had rebuked Turkey over two air raids on northern Iraq's Sinjar and Mount Karajak regions the previous night, where the PKK terrorist group operates.

Iraq's foreign ministry called the Turkish air raids a violation of national sovereignty.

Turkish military aircraft "neutralized" eight PKK terrorists and destroyed more than 30 targets, including tunnels and warehouses, in the Sinjar and Mount Karajak regions in a cross-border operation late Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense, the air raid was conducted to preserve national security and prevent terrorists' attacks coming from northern Iraq in line with the right of self-defense stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

The utmost attention was given to avoid any harm to civilians' safety and property, the Turkish military said.

The Turkish government has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to eradicate the PKK threat in Sinjar. If not, Ankara says, the TSK will exercise its rights and launch a cross-border operation in the area as it did during Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch into Syria.

In mid-2014, the PKK managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established ground in Sinjar as a new base for its logistical and command-and-control activities.

The United States' ongoing steadfast support to the PKK's Syrian affiliate the People's Protection Units (YPG) and the terrorist organization's subsequent increase in strength in the region have prompted Ankara to take necessary steps to ensure its national security.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Wednesday that an operation to clear the eastern parts of the Euphrates River from terrorists would be launched in a few days. Speaking at the Turkish Defense Industry Summit held at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara, Erdoğan said, "It is time to realize our decision to wipe out terror groups east of the Euphrates."

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