The reason for conducting an operation in northern Iraq is the presence of the PKK terrorist organization in the region, the spokesperson of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Jotiar Adil, said Wednesday after Turkey launched Operation Winter Eagle.
Speaking after a Cabinet meeting, Adil said: “The PKK is neither accepting the Kurdistan region, the government or its authority. What is the PKK doing in Sinjar and Qandil?”
He continued to say that the PKK has put the region’s people in a difficult situation.
“Hundreds of villages have been evacuated, the people have become homeless. It was the Kurdistan region that was harmed in this process. Therefore the PKK’s aim is to weaken the Kurdistan region.”
In a statement, Iraqi security forces condemned the attack which they called a violation of Iraqi airspace.
It called on Ankara "to put an end to these violations," and said "Iraq is fully prepared to cooperate (with Ankara) to stabilise the situation on the border."
The Turkish Air Forces Command has struck terrorist targets belonging to the PKK and its Syrian wing the YPG in northern Iraq and parts of northern Syria, the Defense Ministry said early Wednesday.
The ministry announced in a statement that Operation Winter Eagle was carried out against terrorist hideouts in the Derik, Sinjar and Karacak regions.
During the operation, caves, shelters and ammunition depots were targeted.
Warplanes, tanker aircraft, airborne early warning and control planes and unmanned aerial vehicles, which took off from six different bases, participated in the operations.
Around 60 aircraft participated in the operation, and nearly 80 targets in Syria's Derik and Sinjar, the Karacak regions in Iraq were destroyed.
Operation Winter Eagle was launched in accordance with international law, Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and U.N. Security Council resolutions on the fight against terrorism, the ministry added.
Efforts to fight against terrorism for the security of the country and nation will decisively continue "until the last terrorist is eliminated," the statement noted.
Referring to the operation, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter that the country's strategy of eradicating terrorism at its source had made great contributions to border security, territorial integrity and national unity.
The PKK has bases and training camps in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq and on the mountainous border with Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who vowed to "clean up" parts of northern Iraq, accuses the PKK of using the mountainous border area as a springboard for its insurgency.
Turkish forces routinely conduct military strikes against suspected PKK hideouts in the area.
In December, Turkey carried out retaliatory airstrikes in northern Iraq after three Turkish soldiers died in a PKK attack.
Ankara has mounted successive air and ground offensives targeting rear bases of the PKK terrorists, whose attacks have claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984.
In a related development, shelling on Wednesday afternoon in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab killed at least seven people, according to opposition activists who say the YPG is responsible for the attack.