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Iraq’s security official calls for ‘restraint’ amid Turkey’s crossborder violations

Qassem al-Aaraji, Iraq's national security adviser

Iraq’s national security adviser has reacted to a recent Turkish attack on a tourist resort in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, calling for “restraint” in response to recurring crossborder violations by Turkey.

“Two days ago, the Turkish forces bombed a tourist resort in Dohuk Governorate, and the national forces condemned the Turkish bombing with a unified position,” Qassem al-Aaraji said at an international event in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Friday. “We demand restraint in responding to these violations.”

Al-Araji also pointed out that “some media institutions had a destructive role in society and distorted the facts.”

Nine Iraqis were killed and 23 others sustained injuries in the Turkish artillery bombardment of the northern Iraqi hill village of Parakh in the Zakho district in Dohuk on Wednesday.

Authorities in Iraq insist that the attack was carried out by Turkish forces and that they are responsible for the deaths and injuries of Iraqi civilians, while Ankara says the country’s forces did not attack civilians.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi declared a day of national mourning on Thursday and ordered the formation of an investigative committee, headed by Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein and made up of several high-ranking security officials, in order to thoroughly look into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry stressed that a diplomatic response at the highest level will be adopted in connection with the deadly artillery attack, and the case will be referred to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Iraq’s Council of Representatives also tasked the country’s Foreign Ministry to document all the alleged Turkish strikes in northern Iraq and violations of its sovereignty, in order to use it as a basis for filing an urgent complaint against Ankara at the UNSC.

Iraq’s Parliament is scheduled on Saturday to hold an emergency session in the presence of the country’s defense and foreign ministers and the army’s chief of staff to discuss the attack.

In a statement on Thursday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected claims by the Iraqi authorities and attributed the attack to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group.

Turkey has been using the presence of the anti-Ankara outfit as an excuse to seek year-long mandates from Iraq to pound Kurdistan’s Qandil mountains.

Since last year, Ankara has, however, egregiously overstepped its mandate and stretched the theater of its war on the group to areas lying deep in the Kurdistan region.

Last month, Chairman of the Security and Defense Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Mohammed Rida Al Haidar, denounced the Turkish military presence there as “occupation.”

‘Security agreement with Turkey has expired’

In a related development on Friday, a member of the security and defense commission of the Iraqi Parliament announced that the security agreement between Baghdad and Ankara has come to an end.

“The security agreement with Turkey regarding the borders has expired and was temporary for one year in the 80s [20th century] and its implementation has been continued until now in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations,” Javad al-Bulani told the Kurdish-language Rudaw television news network.

Al-Bulani said the commission had formed a committee to prepare a report to be presented to the Iraqi security and military institutions in order to provide the necessary recommendations for taking the next steps.

“Turkey’s military operation caused a great disaster and these repeated incidents prove Turkey’s lack of respect for Iraq’s sovereignty, and this requires a decisive and responsible response from the army, the Iraqi government, the security services, and the relevant ministry,” the Iraqi security official added.

Al-Bulani also stressed that the latest condemnations of Iraq’s political groups “proved their solidarity against this attack, and therefore they can unite and agree on major national issues,” calling on the Iraqi government to take swift measures in relation to the issue.

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