Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry after a Turkish drone killed two senior Iraqi officers. A visit by Turkey’s Minister of Defence scheduled for Thursday has now been cancelled.
The drone struck the border guard battalion commanders and the driver of their vehicle yesterday in what is likely to have been a mistake. The missile hit the men as they were in a meeting with Kurdish militants reportedly belonging to the designated terrorist group the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). The Foreign Ministry called it a “blatant” attack.
According to a statement released by the ministry, the Turkish envoy was to be given “a letter of protest with strong words” condemning and rejecting Turkey’s military action in the north of Iraq. The killing of the officers marks the first Iraqi casualties since Turkey launched its offensive against PKK militants and sites in northern Iraq in mid-June.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has already summoned the Turkish ambassador twice this year, marking a deterioration of relations between the neighbours.
The spokesperson of the Iraqi presidency also entered the fray, stating that the Turkish military and the PKK must resolve their border issues. The official called for Turkey to cease such cross-border attacks immediately.
In mid-June following the start of the Turkish border offensive, Iraq’s military slammed Turkey for violating its airspace. Turkey hit back against the head of the Arab League who also condemned its actions.
Turkey has not been the only country to conduct strikes against PKK militants in northern Iraq, however; Iran has also been targeting the militia in the same area.