Turkey vows to continue airstrikes in Iraq after Baghdad's protest
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Turkey will continue its anti-terror operations in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region as long as terror groups exist there, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Dec. 15, following the Iraqi government's statement criticizing Turkey for the latest airstrikes.
In a statement, Hami Aksoy said the illegal PKK has used Iraqi soil as a base to attack Turkey for many years. “As a result of these attacks, tens of thousands of our people were killed," Aksoy added.
"Activities of PKK terror group on Iraqi and Syrian soils have been a national security issue for Turkey," he said.
“These counter-terror operations will continue as long as Turkey’s security needs require and terror organizations exist in Iraqi soils," the spokesman added.
Aksoy also said that Ankara has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to do its part to avert the activities of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.
“Every kind of support is being given to Iraq in its fight against terror organizations. Same understanding and concrete cooperation are expected from Iraq," he said.
Aksoy added that the Turkish Armed Forces respond to attacks from Iraqi soil as part of its right of self-defense stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, when Iraqi authorities have not done what is necessary for the fight against terrorism.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said that Turkey conducted airstrikes in Sinjar and Mount Karajak regions of northern Iraq late Dec. 13, adding such operations will continue.
Iraq summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Dec. 14 to protest the Turkish airstrikes.