The PKK terrorist organization, which attacks Turkey from regions in Iraq where it has nested, also challenges northern Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and stability, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry underlined that “it is Iraq's responsibility to take necessary measures against PKK elements on its territory.”
"Our country is ready to cooperate with Iraq in this regard. However, if the PKK presence in Iraq continues to be tolerated, Turkey is determined to take the necessary measures for the security of its borders, wherever it may be," the written statement said.
The statement added that Turkey also has invited some countries and regional organizations which make unfounded claims against Turkey “to assume a principled stance against terrorism and to give up their double standards encouraging terrorists, rather than making unfounded allegations against our country.”
Turkish security forces killed nine PKK terrorists in northern Iraq on Tuesday during a cross-border counterterrorism operation in the region, unintentionally killing two Iraqi military officers and raising tensions between the two countries.
Seven of the terrorists were killed in air-backed operations in the Haftanin, Avasin and Metina regions after being detected by reconnaissance and surveillance activities, as part of the Claw-Eagle and Claw-Tiger operations that started on June 16, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey. Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) previously called the PKK's presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged the militants to leave the area.
However, during the latest incidents, two Iraqis were also caught in the line of fire as Turkish forces targeted PKK terrorists, stirring up tension between Ankara and Baghdad.
Iraq canceled a ministerial visit and summoned Turkey's ambassador as it blamed Ankara for the drone strike that killed two high-ranking Iraqi officers Tuesday.
Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terror threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps are not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terror threats, particularly in Sinjar.
The PKK terrorist group managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in mid-2014, on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established a new base in Sinjar for its logistical and command-and-control activities.
Meanwhile, it is claimed that one of the PKK terrorists who were killed in the attack was Cemil Bayık, one of the so-called leaders of the PKK terrorist group. The founding member and senior leader of the PKK, Bayık is also among the members of the KCK, an umbrella group covering the PKK and its offshoots in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Bayık is the main culprit of a car bombing that killed 35 people in Ankara’s central Kızılay Square in March 2016. Furthermore, it is also claimed that during the same operation, an aid to Bayık Ali Novruzi codenamed Heval Agit was among those that lost their lives. The Iranian terrorist was responsible for the Sinjar region and was at the head of the terrorist organization’s so-called intelligence network. However, despite the speculation, Turkish authorities have yet to confirm the news.