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Iraq Cancels Turkish Defense Minister Visit after Attack

Iraq Cancels Turkish Defense Minister Visit after Attack

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 - 04:45
A member of the PKK carries an automatic rifle on a road in the Qandil Mountains, the PKK headquarters in northern Iraq, on June 22, 2018. (Getty Images)

Iraq cancelled on Tuesday the Turkish defense minister’s visit to the country which was scheduled for Thursday, Iraq’s foreign ministry said in a statement.


The ministry also summoned the Turkish ambassador to hand him “a strong protest note and inform him of Iraq’s confirmed rejection of his country’s attacks and violations”, the statement added.


A Turkish drone strike on Tuesday in the Sidakan area in northeastern Iraq, near the Turkish and Iranian borders, killed two members of Iraq’s border guard and the driver of the vehicle they were in, the Iraqi military said.


It is the first time members of the regular Iraqi forces have been killed since Turkey launched a cross-border ground and air operation in mid-June against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels in the mountainous terrain of northern Iraq.


The Iraqi presidency slammed the attack as a “dangerous” violation of the country’s sovereignty and international laws.


It demanded that Ankara cease military operations that are harming relations with its neighbors.


Iraq has already summoned the Turkish envoy in Baghdad twice in protest at Ankara's operations on its soil.


At least five civilians have been killed since the start of the Turkish campaign in June.


Ankara has announced the death of two of its soldiers, and the PKK and its allies have reported the deaths of 10 fighters and supporters.


The PKK, which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies, has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.


It has long used the rugged terrain of northern Iraq as a rear base to wage attacks on Turkey, which in turn had set up military positions inside Iraqi territory to fight them.


The Kurdish authorities, dominated by the Democratic Party of Kurdistan (KDP) see the PKK as rivals but have never been able to uproot them from their northern Iraqi bases.


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