Iraq condemns Turkish air raids

Ankara says it targeted PKK bases but Baghdad claims Kurdish villages were hit.

The Iraqi goverment said that at least one civilian was killed and schools and bridges destroyed [AFP]
The Iraqi goverment said that at least one civilian was killed and schools and bridges destroyed [AFP]
“We fully understand Turkish legitimate security concerns over PKK terrorism across the border, and our government’s position is very clear on that,” he said after a meeting with David Miliband, Britain’s foreign minister.

“But the understanding has been that whatever action is taken needs to be co-ordinated, and needs to be targeting the PKK, not any other part of the Iraqi population,” he said.

“What happened yesterday was based mainly on some misinformation that cause these civilian casualties. So we hope that this kind of attack will be stopped and any future action will be more co-ordinated.”

‘Innocent casualties’

The Iraqi parliament said there were “several innocent civilian casualties” in Sunday’s bombardment in the Qandil mountains.

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Local officials said that as well as the woman that was killed, five other civilians were wounded and schools and bridges were destroyed.

“We all were asleep when the warplanes struck our village,” Hassan Ibrahim, a farmer from the village of Qalatuqa, said.

“When the attack came I got out of the house. We were all suffocating because of the dust.

“Earlier it was Saddam who destroyed our homes, now it is the Turks,” he told the AFP news agency as he prepared to leave his home.

Asaka Abdullah said she was woken up by the sound of the bombs falling.

“I was asleep when the sound of the explosion woke me up. When I stepped out of my house I saw people fleeing barefoot,” she said.

“We really have no choice but to flee to the mountains to escape the bombs.”

US ‘informed’

The US embassy official has denied that Washington directlyapproved the attacks, but told Reuters news agency that it was informed before they took place.

General Yasar Buyukanit, chief of Turkey’s General Staff, said on Turkish television on Sunday that the US had opened Iraqi airspace to Turkey’s air force.

He denied that any “civilian targets or villages were hit,” saying that all targets were successfully destroyed.


An estimated 3,000 PKK fighters are based
in northern Iraq [File: AFP]

Turkey claims the right of self-defence under international law to stage cross-border attacks against an estimated 3,000 PKK fighters in northern Iraq.

Ankara blames the PKK, which seeks a separate Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey, for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people since it began its armed struggle in 1984.
Reports in Turkish newspapers on Monday suggested that Murat Karayilan, the PKK’s military chief, may have been the target of the air raids.

Three daily newspapers – Sabah, Aksam and Yeni Safak – reported that Karayilan was in one of the PKK camps targeted by Turkish F16s and had used his satellite telephone immediately before it was attacked.

Fighters killed

The Turkish military has not yet specified what targets were destroyed, but the pro-PKK news agency Firat said that seven people, including Kurdish fighters, were killed.

The European Union has expressed concern at the air raids in northern Iraq and urged Ankara to show restraint.
“The presidency calls on the Turkish authorities to exercise restraint, to respect the territorial integrity of Iraq and refrain from taking any military action that could undermine regional peace and stability,” Portugal, the holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, said in a statement.

Source: News Agencies


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