Turkey says 3 soldiers killed in Iraq clashes with Kurdish rebels

An honor guard carries the coffin of a Turkish soldier killed in clashes with PKK fighters, in Ankara, in 2015. Three Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday by Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. (AP Photo)
Updated 31 May 2018
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Turkey says 3 soldiers killed in Iraq clashes with Kurdish rebels

  • Turkish army: “Three of our heroic comrades fell as martyrs as a result of clashes with members of the separatist terrorist organization in northern Iraq.”
  • Turkish warplanes have often bombed PKK hideouts in the mountainous northern Iraq while the security forces have sporadically launched cross-border incursions in pursuit of rebel fighters.

ANKARA: Three Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in clashes with fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the army said.
“Three of our heroic comrades fell as martyrs as a result of clashes with members of the separatist terrorist organization in northern Iraq,” the army said, referring to the PKK which is designated as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.
Turkish warplanes have often bombed PKK hideouts in the mountainous northern Iraq while the security forces have sporadically launched cross-border incursions in pursuit of rebel fighters.
The army statement did not say where the latest clashes took place.
On Tuesday, the army said another soldier was killed in an attack blamed on the PKK, and responded with airstrikes against the group.
The PKK has been waging an insurgency in the southeast of Turkey since 1984 which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.
Fighting in the region intensified between Turkish security forces and the PKK after the collapse of a two-year cease-fire in 2015.
The PKK’s leadership and rear bases are located in the remote mountainous Qandil region and other areas of northern Iraq.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened a major cross-border operation to dislodge the group from its strongholds there.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 19 July 2019
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Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.