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Iraq summons Turkish envoy over air strikes

Published: December 15, 2018
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Iraq’s foreign ministry on Friday summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad to protest over what it called repeated airspace violations, after Turkish warplanes earlier carried out strikes against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, Reuters reports.

Hours earlier, the Turkish military said on Twitter it had killed eight militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes targeting the Zap, Hakurk and Haftanin regions of northern Iraq.

Turkey has regularly carried out air strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq, as President Tayyip Erdogan pursues his stated aim of ending the militant group’s presence near Turkey’s borders. Ankara has also threatened to launch a ground offensive in northern Iraq.

But Iraq’s foreign ministry said the air strikes were unacceptable “on all levels” and violated its sovereignty and the security of its citizens.

“The Ministry denounces the actions of Turkish aircraft that violate Iraqi airspace and target several sites… in northern Iraq, which caused loss of life and property,” it said in a statement.

The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. It has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast that has killed about 40,000 people.

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The US is worried that “unilateral” military action against its proxy forces might jeopardize its foothold in Syria, claiming that the Kurds are vital in the battle against IS, as Turkey vows to get rid of “separatist terrorists.”

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