Opposition party submits parliamentary inquiry on Iraq operation, hostage killings

Turkey’s opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) has submitted written questions to Parliament regarding the military operation into northern Iraq’s Gara region and the killing of 13 Turkish citizens over the weekend.

The questions posed to the Foreign Ministry ask for clarification ''regarding the citizens who were deprived of their freedom by the outlawed PKK and the Gara operation,’’ opposition deputy Mustafa Yeneroğlu said on Twitter on Monday.

Turkish officials on Sunday said militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had executed 13 kidnapped Turks, including military and police personnel, in a cave in northern Iraq’s Gara region. The report arrived amid a military operation in the region targeting the group, which began on Feb. 10.

Twelve of the kidnapped Turks had been shot in the head and one in the shoulder, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement on Monday.

Turkish officials have identified six soldiers and two police officers - kidnapped in separate incidents in 2015 and 2016 - as being among those killed in the cave. The remaining three victims have yet to be identified.

The questions published on DEVA’s website include whether a military operation was evaluated as the last resort following a risk assessment, when and how the 13 citizens had been kidnapped by the PKK and how many Turkish citizens continue to remain in the organisation’s custody.

“Some of them had been held for five years and others for six. We tried hard to save them,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a day after the announcement of their deaths.

''Have you or will you contact other countries to save our citizens from the clutches of the terrorist organisation?’’ DEVA asked.

The party also questioned what the ''political and military goal'' of the operation was.

''At the end of the day, was the end result a success or failure?’’ the opposition party asked.

The questions arrive amid claims by opposition pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that the killings were a result of Turkish airstikes.

The issue has also led to tensions with the United States after Washington on Sunday condemned the killings if reports that the PKK was responsible were confirmed.

On Monday, Erdoğan accused the United States of supporting the PKK over the remarks while Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador over the U.S. State Department’s conditional condemnation.