Turkey, Iran summoned over bombing of Kurdish rebels in Iraq
BAGDAD (AP) - Baghdad on Thursday summoned ambassadors from Turkey and Iran to their country's separate military operations against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq this week, calling the attacks an affront to Iraqi sovereignty.
In an air and land operation called "Operation Claw-Tiger", Turkey flew troops to northern Iraq on Wednesday to exterminate the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it claims maintains bases across the border in Iraq.
Turkey has carried out regular air and ground attacks against the PKK in northern Iraq and has defended these operations on the grounds that neither the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi-Kurdish regional government have taken any measures to eliminate the PKK insurgents.
The operation of the command troops is supported by fighter planes, attack helicopters, artillery and armed and unarmed drones in the Haftanin border area, about 15 kilometers from the Turkish-Iraqi border.
The ground operation started after an intense artillery fire in the area on Tuesday. Turkish Ambassador Fatih Yildiz was summoned to the State Department on Tuesday and again on Thursday as the operation continued overnight.
According to a statement by the Iraqi ministry, the Turkish ambassador received a "strongly worded protest notice demanding the cessation of such provocative acts".
"We emphasize the need for the Turkish side to stop bombing and the withdrawal of its armed forces from the Iraqi areas it invaded yesterday," the statement said.
The ministry also called for the removal of Turkish forces from Bashiqa Mountain in Nineveh Province, where Turkey has been present since 2015.
In a tweet, Yildiz said the summons was "a new opportunity to emphasize that we will continue to fight the PKK wherever it is, unless Iraq takes steps to end the PKK's presence in the country . "
Turkey began expanding its military presence in Iraq last summer as part of an intensive operation against PKK targets after the Osman Kose attack in Irbil, who worked for the Turkish consulate there. Ankara has held the PKK responsible for its killing.
Iraq also summoned Iranian Ambassador Iraj Masjedi on Thursday to protest the previous day's bombing of border villages in the Haji Omran region outside of Irbil. The shelling caused damage to property in the villages, the statement said.
Iran routinely attacks its own Kurdish rebels based in northern Iraq. In a statement, the Iraqi ministry condemned the attack and urged Iran to respect Iraq's sovereignty and encouraged bilateral cooperation to maintain security along the common border.
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