Turkey says it did not carry out attack on civilians in Iraq's Dohuk

Nine civilians including children were killed in a park in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region on July 20 by artillery fire which Baghdad said was carried out by the Turkish military. Turkey however has denied responsibility, instead suggesting that the PKK had carried out the strike.

Shoes of victims are seen at the scene of the attack on a mountain resort in Iraq's northern province of Dohuk on July 20.

Reuters - Duvar English

Turkey has not carried out any attacks targeting civilians in Iraq's Dohuk province, where a strike killed eight and wounded 23 a day earlier, and Iraqi authorities must not fall for this "trap", Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 21. 

Turkey on July 20 rejected claims by Iraqi officials and state media that it had carried out an attack on a mountain resort in Dohuk.

Speaking to state broadcaster TRT Haber, Çavuşoğlu said the Turkish military operations in Iraq have always been against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and added the attack on Dohuk was also carried out by terrorists. He also said reports blaming Turkey for the attack were attempts by the PKK to hinder Ankara's counter-terrorism. 

Iraq has summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to demand an apology, as well as pulling its charge d'affaires from the Turkish capital.

"The Turkish forces committed blatant violation of the sovereignty of Iraq," Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi tweeted.

President Barham Salih also condemned the attack.

The United States said it strongly backed Iraq's sovereignty.

"The killing of civilians is unacceptable, and all states must respect their obligations under international law, including the protection of civilians," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

Children were amongst the victims, including a 1-year-old, the Kurdish health minister said in a statement, adding that all the victims died before reaching a hospital.

Dozens of Iraqis gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad to protest the attack. The top United Nations envoy to Iraq also condemned it in a statement published on Twitter and called for an investigation. 

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on July 20 said Ankara was saddened to hear of the casualties in the attack, and added that Turkey took maximum care to avoid civilian casualties or damaging historic, cultural sites in its counter-terrorism operations against the PKK and others.

"Turkey is ready to take every step for the truth to come out," the ministry said in a written statement, adding that Turkish military operations were in line with international laws.

"We call on the Iraqi government to not make remarks influenced by the heinous terrorist organization's rhetoric and propaganda, and to engage in cooperation to uncover the perpetrators of this cruel act," it said, referring to the PKK.

Turkey regularly carries out air strikes in northern Iraq and has sent commandos to support its offensives as part of a long-running campaign in Iraq and Syria against the Kurdish PKK and the Syrian Kurdish YPG. Ankara regards both as terrorist groups.


Topics Turkey PKK Iraq