Smokes rise after Kurdish militants detonated a car bomb outside a military station in Semdinli near the border with Iraq, on Oct 9, 2016. Citing a statement by the Turkish Armed Forces, the Anadolu Agency said the attack was the work of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). (STRINGER / IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / AFP)
BAGHDAD/ANKARA/TEHRAN – Iraq on Wednesday decided to recall its charge d'affaires from Ankara for consultations and summoned the Turkish ambassador over the deadly bombardment on a northern Iraqi resort that killed at least nine tourists and wounded 23 earlier in the day.
The Iraqi Ministerial Council for National Security announced the decisions after holding an emergency meeting on the artillery strikes.
An artillery bombardment hit a resort in Parakh village in the Zakho area in Iraq's Duhok province. All the dead and injured victims are tourists, the official Iraqi news agency reported.
Iraq accused Türkiye for the attack, a charge Ankara has denied.
"Türkiye disregards Iraq's demands to stop the violations against Iraq's sovereignty and disrespects the principle of good neighborliness," the Iraqi ministerial council said in a statement, urging Türkiye to submit an official apology and withdraw its forces from all Iraqi territories.
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The council also decided to pause dispatching a new ambassador to Türkiye in protest of the attack, and order the filing of a complaint to the United Nations Security Council.
Türkiye disregards Iraq's demands to stop the violations against Iraq's sovereignty and disrespects the principle of good neighborliness.
Iraqi Ministerial Council for National Security
The Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes, and artillery bombardments in Iraq's Kurdistan, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Türkiye, the United States and the EU listed PKK as a terrorist organization.
Türkiye denies responsibility
Denying the responsibility for the attack, Türkiye urged the Iraqi authorities to keep off the "influence and propaganda" of the PKK.
"Türkiye carries out its fight against terrorism in accordance with international law, with the utmost sensitivity to the protection of civilians, civilian infrastructure, historical and cultural assets and nature," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement, calling the resort bombardment "a terror act."
"Türkiye is ready to take all steps to shed light on the truth," the ministry said, urging the Iraqi authorities to cooperate with Ankara to find the "real perpetrators of the attack."
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In April, the Turkish army launched a ground and air offensive against the PKK targets across its borders in the Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan regions of Iraq's Duhok Province.
UN mission condemns attack
Condemning the deadly attack, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement, "Under international law, attacks must not be directed at the civilians."
The sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq must be respected at all times, it said, calling for a thorough investigation into the incident and urging all parties to stop such violations without delay.
Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Wednesday expressed concerns about a possible military operation by Türkiye in northern Syria.
"I would like to emphasize, in the continuation of last night's talks and the (trilateral) summit (of Iran, Russia and Türkiye), that we are concerned about the possibility of Turkish military entry into Syrian territory," Amir-Abdollahian told a joint press conference with his visiting Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad.
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Repeating the Syrian government's opposition to “Turkish interference” in Syria's affairs, Mekdad said: "It is not in the interest of Türkiye or other countries to enter the borders of Syria, as this will cause a conflict between the governments of Syria and Türkiye and affect two friendly and brotherly nations.”