Iraq’s president Barham Salih condemned Turkey’s deadly airstrike on the Makhmour refugee camp as a “dangerous escalation”, Kurdish outlet NRT Online reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the president’s office.
Salih condemned the Turkish airstrikes that killed three civilians at the camp on Saturday, and called for an end to Turkey’s attacks on its territory in pursuit of militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The recent Turkish airstrike near Makhmour camp in northern Iraq is a dangerous escalation that threatens citizens’ lives and refugees, and is contrary to international and humanitarian law,” said Salih. “Turkish incursions and violations of Iraqi sovereignty that destabilize security and threaten citizens’ lives should be put an end.”
Salih demanded that Turkey withdraw its soldiers stationed in Iraq’s Nineveh province and that their presence was a “violation of the principle of good-neighborliness”.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not express remorse for the attack on Makhmour. He praised the operation, which he said killed a senior PKK commander named Selman Bozkir. According to Abdulla Hawez, a London-based expert on Kurdish politics, Bozkir served as a supervisor for the Makhmour camp.
NRT Online wrote that the Turkish statement could not be immediately verified.
Earlier this week, Erdoğan referred to the U.N.-administered camp that is home to 12,000 Kurdish refugees as a “terror nest,” while threatening a strike.
Turkey regularly launches operations against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq targeting the PKK, a group designated as a terrorist organisation by Ankara that has led a four-decade insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey.
In April, Turkey launched its latest incursion against the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan, the air and ground operations are respectively codenamed Operation Claw-Lightning and Operation Claw-Thunderbolt.