Friday, June 21, 2024

Iraq calls on Turkey to apologize over attack on Sulaymaniyah airport

Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid has condemned the recent shelling of Sulaymaniyah airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region by the Turkish military. He has urged Ankara to cease hostilities and apologize for bombarding the area.

Rashid made the remarks in a statement on Saturday saying there was “no legal justification” for such an act.

“Turkish military operations against the Kurdistan region continue to take place, the last being the Friday bombardment against Sulaimaniyah civilian airport,” Rashid said, adding that such measures only serve to terrorize civilians.

Turkey “continues its approach of intimidating civilians under the pretext that hostile forces are present on Iraqi soil,” referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has a presence in Iraq’s Kurdistan region and is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Turkey.

Lawk Ghafuri, head of foreign media affairs for the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), wrote in a Twitter post late on Friday that a drone attack had targeted the vicinity of Sulaymaniyah airport, but caused no damage or delays or suspension of flights.

The attack came a few days after Turkey halted flights to and from Sulaimaniyah until at least July 3, blaming increased PKK activity in and around the airport.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced at the time that PKK activities were posing a “threat” to the country’s air security.

In September, at least four Turkish soldiers were killed after they engaged in fierce exchanges of gunfire with members of the PKK militant group in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

In response, the Turkish military has occupied areas in northern Iraq, where it regularly conducts attacks against purported PKK positions without the Arab country’s consent. Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Ankara’s ongoing military operations there.

Iraqi resistance groups have also time and again warned Turkey of the consequences of its incursions into their country.

Last July, Turkey carried out a strike against the Iraqi hill village of Parakh in the Zakho district of Dohuk province, killing at least nine tourists, including children and women, and wounding more than 20 others.

Authorities in Iraq stated that the attack was carried out by Turkish forces and that they were responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians, while Ankara said the country’s forces did not attack civilians.

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