Iranians attacked by PKK receiving treatment in Turkish hospitals
A group of Iranian engineers and soldiers were attacked by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Dec. 4 and were taken to hospitals in eastern Turkish provinces by Turkish soldiers.
The group consisting of three engineers and four soldiers were attacked while carrying out waterworks in Maku on the Iranian side of the border neighboring the eastern province of Iğdır.
The group came under fire from the Iranian side of the border at around 4 p.m. Four people were wounded as a result.
The group asked Turkish soldiers on duty at the border for help as Iranian security forces were far from the area.
The Turkish soldiers carried the wounded soldiers and engineers to the Turkish side of the border in return. Initial treatment was provided by doctors in the Gökay Border Battalion.
Two wounded engineers were taken to the Kars Research and Training Hospital with a helicopter, while two soldiers were taken to different hospitals in Iğdır.
A soldier who was heavily-wounded was taken to the Aralık State Hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
Speaking about the incident, Iranian engineer Sait Israfdul, who accompanied the wounded to Iğdır, said the Turkish soldiers did the best they could to help them.
“We were working in that area. They [PKK militants] opened fire on us and four people were wounded. We asked Turkish soldiers for help and thankfully, they did the best they could. One of our soldiers died. We are experiencing deep sorrow,” Israfdur said.
Iğdır Governor Enver Ünlü visited the wounded and said the attack was “certainly” carried out by the PKK.
“Iranian soldiers and engineers were subjected to a terrorist attack. The Fifth Border Regiment Commander called me to give information. I asked them to help immediately,” Ünlü said, adding that the three wounded are in good condition.
“The wounded underwent surgeries and are well. This is definitely an act by the PKK terrorist organization. We have started efforts to apprehend the terrorists. I convey my condolences to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.
Ünlü said precautions against PKK militants have been increased on both sides of the border, noting that a crisis desk has been formed to thoroughly look into the incident upon the orders of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.
“We held a security meeting with an Iranian delegation in Iran’s Maku 10 days ago. The necessity to cooperate in clearing the area from terrorist groups has emerged once again with this painful incident,” he added.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, meanwhile, spoke with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif on the phone after the incident.
While conveying his condolences for the slain soldier, Çavuşoğlu told Zarif the PKK attack was being investigated and the results of the probe would be shared with Tehran.
A statement was released from Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Qassemi, who said the fallen soldier was a border guard.
He also said the incident had been discussed with Soylu and Iran’s Ambassador to Ankara Ebrahim Taherian Fard.
“The Turkish minister has told us they are following the issue seriously,” Qassemi said.