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Iraq summons Turkish envoy over air strikes

Minister of National Defence of Turkey Hulusi Akar (C) follows the air operation conducted to “neutralize” PKK/KCK/PYD/YPG and other terrorist elements in northern Iraq on December 13, 2018 at Turkish Air Forces' Operation Center in Ankara, Turkey on December 13, 2018. ( Arif Akdoğan - Anadolu Agency )

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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IraqMiddle EastNewsTurkey
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