Artillery attack turns into a diplomatic row between Iraq, Turkey
An artillery attack which killed nine and wounded 23 on a summer resort in northern Iraq on Wednesday provoked widespread outrage against Turkey as many people protested outside the Turkish embassy and the country recalled its charges d'affaires from Ankara.
Iraq’s National Security Council held an emergency meeting chaired by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and demanded the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraqi lands. Turkey must “submit an official apology and withdraw its military forces from all Iraqi lands,” a statement from Kadhimi’s office read.
"The Turkish forces committed blatant violation of the sovereignty of Iraq," Kadhimi wrote on Twitter. President Barham Salih also condemned the attack.
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.
"We go towards the mountainside, there are strikes. We go towards the waterfall, there are strikes. We go towards this side, there are strikes," said Mustafa Alaa, 24, who was at the resort when the attack occurred.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Iraqi Charge d'Affaires in Turkey and decided to hold the process of appointing a new ambassador to Ankara. Iraq also plans to file a complaint to the United Nation's Security Council, state media said.
Dozens of Iraqis gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad to protest the attack.
However, a statement by Turkish foreign ministry denied responsibility, assessed it to be organized by “the terrorist organization” referring to the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and called on Iraqi authorities to avoid making statements influenced by "terrorist organisation propaganda".
The PKK has been fighting the Turkish state since 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
The US State Department also condemned the shelling.
"The killing of civilians is unacceptable, and all states must respect their obligations under international law, including the protection of civilians," spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
“Our region has been repeatedly dragged into violence by the infighting between Turkey and the PKK. It has cost our citizens unnecessary pain, suffering and anxiety. This has to end” Masrar Barzani, Kurdish Regional Prime Minister said in his Twitter account.