Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein once again blamed Turkey for being behind the deadly bombardment in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province, reiterating Baghdad’s demands for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraqi territory.
In a UN Security Council emergency session on Tuesday, Hussein stated that that evidence gathered from the scene of the attack included fragments of “155 mm heavy artillery” projectiles, which are used by the Turkish army in the area.
Iraq last week filed a complaint to the council, requesting the body to hold a session to discuss the artillery shelling that struck a tourist resort in Duhok’s Zakho district, killing nine and injured dozens others. Baghdad and Erbil have attributed the attack to Turkey, which has repeatedly denied involvement.
Hussein said that Iraq has issued 296 official notes of protests to Turkey since 2018 in response to the neighboring country’s continued violations on Iraqi land, which he numbered at 22,742 cases, calling on the council to issue an emergency decision obliging Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq.
The Iraqi foreign minister stressed that there were no agreements between the Iraqi and Turkish sides which would allow the latter to roam Iraqi land under the pretext of targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as they have claimed.
Iraq’s demands before the council were listed by Hussein, which included obliging Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq, the formation of an international independent team to investigate the attack and hold the perpetrators responsible, asking the council to include the Iraq-Turkey situation in its agenda, and obliging the Turkish government to compensate for the losses and damages caused by the attack.
In return, Oncu Keceli, Turkey’s deputy permanent representative, extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the attack and reiterated Turkey’s “rejection of the allegations that have been attributed to it.”
Keceli said that this was not the first time Turkey has been the subject of a “smear campaign,” pointing the finger at the PKK and stating that the Kurdish armed forces are the ones breaching Iraq’s sovereignty and integrity, not Turkey.
He also blamed Iraqi officials for failing to preserve the country’s sovereignty.
“Iraq has so far proven to be either unable or unwilling” to fight the PKK, said Keceli. “If you cannot control your own country if you are unwilling to fight against the terrorists … then you are siding either directly or indirectly with the terrorists,” he added referring to the PKK which Ankara has designated a terrorist organization.
However, Hussein expressed Iraq’s willingness to work with the UN to expel the PKK from Iraqi land, as its presence “causes destabilization and creates a state of instability in Iraq.”