At UN, Iraq and Turkey escalate dispute over deadly attack

Jul 26, 2022, 2:42 AM | Updated: Jul 27, 2022, 1:12 am

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A dispute between Iraq and Turkey over a recent deadly attack in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region escalated at an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

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

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.

Turkey has denied it was behind the attack and blamed fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization 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 the start of the Security Council meeting, the U.N. special envoy for Iraq had said Turkey 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, emphasized in a conversation 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 Turkey 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.”

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

Turkey’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Öncü Keçeli, countered that “we made it clear that Turkey 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.”

He said some Iraqi authorities were on the same page as Turkey and “wanted to find out the truth.” But other Iraqi officials, he said, “chose escalation instead of diplomacy and cooperation,” and started a media “smear campaign” aimed at driving a wedge between the Turkish and Iraqi people.

Hussein said the Iraqi government is “sure” the Turkish military was responsible for the attack. He pointed to the findings of its investigation that Turkey’s army has bases in the area near the resort, PKK fighters have not been in the area for the last month and the Turkish army uses 155 mm artillery projectiles whose fragments were found at the scene.

Hussein added that many people in the area “gave us enough information about the activity of Turkish soldiers there.”

He called on the Security Council to urgently adopt a resolution demanding that Turkey withdraw what he said were about 4,000 combat soldiers from Iraq, and halt incursions into Iraqi airspace.

Turkey’s Keçeli countered that “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq are breached by terrorist organizations, not by Turkey,” which he said has always supported Iraq’s sovereignty.

“As we speak, the flags of the PKK terrorist organization are raised in certain parts of northern Iraq, not the flags of the federal government” or the Kurdish regional government, he said,

Turkey estimates the PKK controls an area of “at least 10,000 square kilometers in Iraq,” he said. “Nearly 800 villages have been forcefully evacuated by the PKK and all these spots have become a safe haven for the terrorists.” In the first six months of this year the PKK carried out 339 attacks against Turkey, he said.

“Iraq has so far proven to be either unable or unwilling to fight the terrorists,” and therefore it cannot blame Turkey for exercising its right to self-defense, Keçeli said.

Hussein said Iraq’s government is ready to work alongside the United Nations and concerned countries “to ensure that elements of the PKK leave Iraq because this destabilizes Iraq” and undermines security in the country.

The Security Council issued a statement Monday condemning the attack on the resort “in the strongest terms,” expressing support for Iraqi authorities “in their investigations” and urging all countries to cooperate with the Iraqi government “and all other relevant authorities in support of these investigations.” The council did not mention Turkey.

Diplomats said chances of the council approving a resolution demanding the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq are slim, especially given the key role Turkey is playing in the recently announced deal to export desperately needed grain from Ukraine and grain and fertilizer from Russia to countries facing food shortages, rising prices and widespread hunger.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
3 days ago
UCLA's Jaime Jaquez Jr. (24) shoots while defended by Gonzaga's Rasir Bolton (45) in the first half...
Associated Press

Gonzaga beats UCLA 79-76 in Sweet 16 on Strawther’s shot

Julian Strawther hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer a 3-pointer by UCLA's Amari Bailey, lifting Gonzaga to a wild 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA Thursday night in the Sweet 16.
3 days ago
Associated Press

Officials: Safety device, human error derailed Wash. train

A safety device failed, knocking a train off the tracks last week, spilling diesel after leaving an oil refinery in Anacortes.
3 days ago
File - Credit cards as seen July 1, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. A low credit score can hurt your ability...
Associated Press

What the Fed rate increase means for your credit card bill

The Federal Reserve raised its key rate by another quarter point Wednesday, bringing it to the highest level in 15 years as part of an ongoing effort to ease inflation by making borrowing more expensive.
4 days ago
police lights distracted drivers shooting...
Associated Press

Authorities: Missing mom, daughter in Washington found dead

A missing Washington state woman and her daughter were found dead Wednesday, according to police.
4 days ago
Associated Press

Google’s artificially intelligent ‘Bard’ set for next stage

Google announced Tuesday it's allowing more people to interact with “ Bard,” the artificially intelligent chatbot the company is building to counter Microsoft's early lead in a pivotal battleground of technology.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
At UN, Iraq and Turkey escalate dispute over deadly attack