Turkish army drones kill 7 PKK members as Turkish FM meets Iraq Kurds
Twin drone strikes carried out by the Turkish army resulted in the deaths of seven members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) within Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. The strikes occurred on Thursday, coinciding with the visit of Turkey’s foreign minister to the northern region.
The targeted area for both strikes was the mountainous Sidakan subdistrict, situated north of Erbil, the regional capital. This region has been known to host PKK rear bases, where the group has been involved in a nearly four-decade-long insurgency against the Turkish military.
The initial strike, executed by a Turkish army drone, targeted a PKK vehicle and led to the demise of one official and two fighters, according to statements from the Kurdish counterterrorism services. Subsequently, in a second attack that took place just hours later, two PKK officials and two emergency personnel were killed, as confirmed by the counterterrorism services.
These strikes occurred while Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan was present in Arbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish region. Fidan’s visit marked his inaugural official trip to Iraq, initiated on Tuesday.
During his visit, Fidan engaged in meetings with Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the Kurdish region, and Masrour Barzani, the prime minister. Discussions centered around Ankara’s request for Baghdad to classify the PKK as a “terrorist” organization.
“Addressing the media alongside Masrour Barzani, Fidan asserted, “We have resolved this matter definitively in Turkey. Currently, the PKK is operating from within Iraqi territory. We are collaborating with both Baghdad and Arbil to safeguard Iraq from the threats posed by the PKK.”
“Notably, Fidan had already urged the federal government in Baghdad on Tuesday to officially designate the PKK as a “terrorist” organization. The autonomous Kurdistan region within Iraq has frequently been subjected to Turkish military actions, both aerial and ground, against the PKK”.
“Turkey’s military typically refrains from providing commentary on individual strikes. Critiques have arisen, however, concerning the perceived lack of adequate measures by both the Kurdish authorities in Arbil and the federal government in Baghdad to prevent Turkey’s recurrent military interventions on Iraqi soil in the ongoing struggle against the PKK”.
“Statements denouncing violations of Iraqi sovereignty are intermittently issued, particularly following incidents resulting in civilian casualties. Critics argue that the primary concern of both Arbil and Baghdad lies in preserving their trade and investment ties with Ankara”.
“It was previously announced on July 25 that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning a visit to Iraq. However, a specific date for this visit has yet to be confirmed, as communicated by the office of Prime Minister Mohamed Shia Al-Sudani”.