Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, has offered his condolences to Turkey over the killing of 13 kidnapped Turkish citizens in northern Iraq, after Turkish officials said they were executed by militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“We would like to express our heartfelt sympathies to their bereaved families and Turkey,” Landrut said in a statement on Feb. 15.
On behalf of the Delegation of the European Union in Turkey, Ambassador Nikolaus MEYER-LANDRUT offers his condolences to the Turkish public for the terror attack in #Gara, Iraq where PKK killed 13 Turkish citizens.— AB Türkiye Delegasyonu 🇪🇺 EU Delegation Turkey (@EUDelegationTur) February 15, 2021
In a separate statement, Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, also expressed his solidarity with Turkish people, saying terrorism “can only be beaten through unity and law.”
“My heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims in the PKK terrorist massacre in #Gara, Iraq. Terrorism is always a despicable and condemnable act, no matter where and when,” he wrote on Twitter.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims in the PKK terrorist massacre in #Gara, Iraq. Terrorism is always a despicable and condemnable act, no matter where and when. It that can only be beaten through unity and law.— Nacho Sánchez Amor (@NachoSAmor) February 15, 2021
My solidarity with all the Turkish people.
The executions, which included military, intelligence and police personnel, took place during a Turkish military operation launched on Feb. 10 against the PKK, in which 48 militants were also killed, according to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.
Turkey launched the military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq's Gara region, some 35 km (22 miles) south of the Turkish border, on Feb. 10 to secure its frontier and find citizens who had been kidnapped previously, he said.
The United States also released a statement on Feb. 15 with regards to the killings, saying it stood by Turkey and that it condemned the killings if it was confirmed that responsibility lay with the PKK.
Ankara, already angered by Washington's partnership with Kurdish fighters in neighbouring Syria, was infuriated by the conditionality of the U.S. statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the U.S. statement showed that it "supports" the PKK and its Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) - the group that's a major part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).