Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said, according to AFP.
Turkey’s deputy consul general to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital of Erbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraq experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.
“Following the evil attack in Erbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the [PKK] terrorist organization,” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armament positions, lodging, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terrorism will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs is avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.