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    Dozens of Turkish F-16 jets prepare to take off during Anatolian Eagle exercise at 3rd Main Jet Air Base near the central Anatolian city of Konya (File)

    Turkey Vows to Continue Airstrikes in Iraq Despite Baghdad's Protest

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    The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey's Ambassador Fatih Yildiz on December 14 to protest against a violation of the country's airspace by Turkish aircraft and them conducting airstrikes on several sites in northern Iraq, which allegedly caused "loss of life and property".

    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy announced on 15 December that Turkey will utilise its "legitimate right to self-defence" and continue conducting airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in Iraq, if the latter doesn't fulfil its obligations in combating the militant group outlawed by Ankara.

    The statement comes amid Turkey continuing its air raids in northern Iraq on 15 December in spite of the protests from Baghdad. Turkish armed forces reported the killing of 7 PKK members, while Friday they reported death of 8 militants. It's unclear whether the initial number was incorrect, or seven more militants were killed on 15 December.

    Iraq summoned Turkish ambassador Fatih Yildiz on 14 December to lodge protests against the violation of Iraqi airspace and airstrikes on its territory, which took place on the same day.

    "Such acts violate Iraq's sovereignty and security of citizens and are unacceptable on all levels, contrary to the principles of good-neighbourliness that bind together the two countries", the statement by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said.

    READ MORE: Turkish Forces 'Neutralize' 7 PKK Militants in Northern Iraq — Reports

    Turkey has been fighting the PKK since the 1980s, when the group first demanded of autonomy for Kurdish-populated territories. The two sides reached a ceasefire in 2013 to fight the threat of Daesh, but it was terminated in 2015, when the PKK accused Ankara of bombing its positions in Iraq, along with those of Daesh. 

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    Tags:
    airstrike, kurds, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Iraq, Turkey
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