BAGHDAD,— Iraq on Thursday condemned Turkey for sending ground troops onto its territory in Kurdistan Region in pursuit of Kurdish rebels, calling it a “clear violation” of its sovereignty.
“The foreign ministry expresses its condemnation of the incursion of a number of Turkish military units inside Iraqi territory,” spokesman Ahmed Jamal said in a statement.
“It represents a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a clear offence to bilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
Turkish special forces entered Iraq on Tuesday in what officials termed a “short-term” incursion in pursuit of fighters from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) allegedly involved in attacks that killed more than two dozen soldiers and police.
Since it was established in 1984 the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, with the aim of creating an independent Kurdish state.
In the 1990s, the PKK limited its demands to establish an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds,who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 75-million population but have long been denied basic political and cultural rights, its goal to political autonomy. A large Turkey’s Kurdish community openly sympathise with PKK rebels.
The PKK and Turkish forces are again trading attacks on the ground and from the air, upending a 2013 ceasefire between the two sides.