3 Turkish soldiers killed, 45 PKK members ‘neutralised’ in Iraq offensive - Erdoğan

Three Turkish soldiers have been killed in Turkey’s cross-border operation targeting Kurdish forces in northern Iraq launched earlier this week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday.

Turkey on Monday launched a new air and ground offensive dubbed  “Operation Claw-Lock” against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq’s Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The PKK is an armed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for almost four decades. 

A total of 45 Kurdish militants have been “neutralized” thus far in the offensive, TimeTürk cited Erdoğan as saying on Friday. The Turkish military uses the term “neutralized” to refer to the killing or capturing of PKK fighters. 

The PKK has several bases in northern Iraq, including its main headquarters in the Qandil mountains. It is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the United States and the European Union.

Turkish forces are pressing on with the destruction of caves and other targets in the region, Erdoğan said, adding that he hopes the operation will reach a successful end with minimum losses.

Turkey routinely carries out attacks in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq. The latest operation arrives on the heels of the Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle launched by Turkey in northern Iraq in 2020.

Iraq on Tuesday accused Turkey of violating its sovereignty and summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad, delivering a "strongly worded" protest note to him, Reuters reported, citing a statement from the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry in response on Thursday handed a diplomatic note to the Iraqi envoy, accusing the Iraqi government of making "unfounded allegations" over the military operation, according to Reuters.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.