NATO condemns killing of 13 Turks in northern Iraq

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned the killing of 13 Turks in northern Iraq. "I would like to express my condolences to Turkey," he said.

Duvar English 

NATO's Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Feb. 17 condemned the recent killing of 13 Turkish nationals, including soldiers, police and intelligence officials, held by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

"I would like to express my condolences to Turkey for the killing of Turkish citizens in northern Iraq," Stoltenberg said at a news conference following the virtual meeting of NATO defense ministers.

"I condemn with the strongest terms those responsible," he added.

Stoltenberg said that the ministers had discussed the unfortunate events in the meeting.

"Allies stand in solidarity with the people of Turkey," he said. 

A total of 13 Turks were killed in a cave in northern Iraq during an operation carried out against the PKK. The Turkish government says that they were killed by the PKK. 

Asked about the tensions between Turkey and Greece over the eastern Mediterranean in summer, he said Turkey is "an important ally of the NATO" and applauded the country's effort in the military alliance's campaign against ISIS.

"Turkey is the NATO ally that has suffered the most and the highest number of terror attacks," the head of the alliance said, adding the country also hosts millions of refugees.

"There is no reason to hide that there are differences and disagreements," Stoltenberg said, explaining that NATO is the platform to raise issues and to find positive approaches.

The deconfliction mechanism between Turkish and Greek military experts was put in place for this purpose, he said.