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Opposition MP requests parliamentary inquiry into failed operation in Iraq

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An opposition lawmaker has requested the opening of a parliamentary inquiry into a botched rescue operation by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in northern Iraq that resulted in the death of all 13 hostages held by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), local media reported on Friday.

Utku Çakırözer, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), on Friday requested the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the operation carried out in the Gara region of northern Iraq, a mountainous area near the Turkish border.

On Feb. 14 Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced that Turkish soldiers had discovered 13 bodies in a cave in Gara, where Ankara launched an operation against the PKK — an armed Kurdish group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU — several days earlier.

Turkey has accused the PKK of executing the hostages, while the PKK claims they were killed in Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) airstrikes.

Opposition parties hold Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responsible for the killing of 13 Turkish nationals at the hands of the PKK, which led to shock in Turkey as the public was not even aware that the PKK had been holding the men hostage since as early as 2015.

“We need an unbiased parliamentary inquiry to be launched to examine the reasons behind the TSK’s failure [to rescue the hostages] in this operation,” Çakırözer said, calling for politicians responsible for the failed operation to be held to account.

Erdoğan, who is known for his constant pressure on the opposition, took an unusual step after the botched hostage mission and tasked his defense and interior ministers with informing opposition parties.

Referring to the visits made by the ministers, Çakırözer added, “The statements of the Justice and Development Party [AKP] members regarding the operation haven’t provided enough information to the members of parliament.”

“Those responsible for this botched operation should answer for it before the public,” the lawmaker said.

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