Turkish aggression in Iraq
Last week Turkish aggression in the Iraqi village of Zakho killed 9 Iraqs, two of whom were children. The attack also severely injured 23 Iraqs to be treated in hospitals. The victims were tourists from South Iraq. Despite accusations by Iraqi authorities against Turkey, Ankara continues denying responsibility and rejecting the claim that it conducted the deadly strike in Zakho. Turkish authorities said that their army avoids harming civilians. Instead, Ankara blames the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group now active in Iraq and Syria. The PKK is deemed a terror group by Turkish authorities and the USA as well. Several sources reported that the KRG allowed tourist agencies to operate in the area despite the fact that it was marked as unsafe.
It is not the first time that Turkey aggressively murders Iraqi citizens, as it has been carrying out attacks on Iraq since the 1990’s, causing causalities on a regular basis. Turkey’s air and artillery strikes are being conducted without Iraq’s official permission to engage in military activities within Iraqi territory. Turkey continues to disrespect Iraq’s sovereignty and had 40 illegal army checkpoints in Iraq in 2021. Today, a year later, the number doubled to 100 checkpoints. In addition, Turkey holds 38 military bases in Northern Iraq, facilitating the illegal presence of over 10,000 troops on the ground.
Responding to the recent Turkish aggression, Iraqi resistance groups targeted the Turkish military base in Bashiqa with rocket attacks. The Bashiqa Turkish base was only recently updated by “israel” with new military tanks. In several Southern Iraqi cities as well as outside the Turkish embassy in Baghdad people protested against Turkish aggression and their occupation of Iraq. Demonstrators tried to replace the Turkish flag with an Iraqi flag but were prevented by police forces.
Turkey holds warm relations with the KRG's ruling Barzani family who profits from the Turkish presence in Iraq. The KRG sells Iraqi oil through Turkish ports, Erbil’s airport was built by Turkish contractors and the KRG is one of Turkey’s largest export markets. In addition the KRG provides Turkey with intelligence about areas that the Turkish army should bomb. The PKK is a direct rival to Barzani’s Kurdisch Democratic Party both in political philosophy and politics. By allowing turkey to bomb them Barzani neutralizes the political threat the PKK forms to his party. Both the KRG and the Iraqi government promised monetary compensation for the victims, however this indirectly absolves Turkey of taking responsibility as they are the ones who should finance the compensation.