Wednesday July 27, 2022

At UN, Iraq and Türkiye escalate dispute over deadly attack

At UN, Iraq and Türkiye escalate dispute over deadly attack

Iraq’s caretaker prime minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi attends a meeting. File photo

A dispute between Iraq and Türkiye over a recent deadly attack in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region escalated at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Iraq’s foreign minister demandedthe withdrawal of all Turkish troops from his country, while Türkiye’s deputy ambassador said his government will keep pursing fighters it considers terrorists who take refuge in Iraq.


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The Iraqi government sought the meeting after the July 20 artillery attack that killed nine Iraqi tourists and injured 33 other people. Its foreign minister, Fuad Hussein, said the government has "proofs” that Turkish armed forces were responsible.

Türkiye has denied it was behind the attack and blamed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by Ankara and the West . It has for decades waged an insurgency against the government in Ankara and maintains hideouts in Iraq’s mountainous north.

At UN, Iraq and Türkiye escalate dispute over deadly attack

At the start of the Security Council meeting, the UN special envoy for Iraq had said Türkiye and Iraq were ready for a joint investigation into the artillery shelling at the Parkha resort in the Zakho district of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said Iraq’s caretaker prime minister, Mustafa Al Kadhimi, emphasised in a conversation on Monday "the importance of a transparent and thorough investigation: independent or jointly.” She quoted him as saying it is vital "to put a stop to speculations, denials, misunderstandings and rising tensions.”

The U.N. envoy said she understood "that Türkiye is also ready to address the issue jointly, with Iraq, in order to determine exactly what happened.”

Iraq’s Hussein called on the Security Council to set up "an international independent team of inquiry” to look into what he called the Turkish army’s "flagrant aggression.”

At UN, Iraq and Türkiye escalate dispute over deadly attack
This picture shows an aerial view of the Dukan Dam in the autonomous Kurdistan region. AFP

The foreign minister told journalists later that Iraq is also ready to have a joint investigation with Türkiye, but he said "they didn’t approach us” and "never sent us an official letter about having an investigation.”

Türkiye’s deputy UN ambassador, Öncü Keçeli, countered that "we made it clear that Türkiye is ready to take all the steps to unveil the truth,” stressing to the council that "our officials at many different levels have given the same message.”

Associated Press

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