Kurdish Forces Arrest Suspects for Assassination of Turkish Diplomat in Erbil
Iraqi Kurdish authorities announced Saturday they had arrested two suspects involved in the murder of three people, including a Turkish diplomat, in the regional capital Erbil this week.
The autonomous region's security council first said its counterterrorism unit had arrested "the main perpetrator" Mazloum Dag, a 27-year-old from Turkey's Diyarbakir region.
The council had put out a wanted notice for Dag a day earlier in connection to Wednesday's killing of Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals.
It later announced it had also arrested Mohammad Biskesiz, identifying him as "one of the accomplices of Mazloum Dag".
It did not specify Biskesiz's nationality or whether he was apprehended with Dag or separately.
Turkey's Anadolu state news agency said Dag is the brother of Dersim Dag, a member of Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party, the People's Democratic Party (HDP).
The HDP, the country's second largest opposition group, is regularly accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of links to Turkey's outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The diplomat was one of at least two people shot dead on Wednesday when a gunman opened fire in a restaurant where Turkish diplomats were dining.
The HDP said it strongly condemned the attack on the diplomat, and said “using the attack as a reason to make one of our lawmakers a target through the name of her brother is a provocation and unacceptable”.
The shooter fled in a car driven by an accomplice, two Kurdish security officials and a witness said.
The attack took place weeks after Turkey launched a new military offensive against the PKK based in northern Iraq.
Ankara’s main enemy in Iraq is the PKK group, which has based fighters in the mountainous border region, north of Erbil, during a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey and the ruling Kurdish party in Erbil, the KDP, have blamed the PKK for other Turkey-related incidents in northern Iraq including the storming of a Turkish military camp earlier this year.