Iraq summons Turkey, Iran ambassadors over bombings

Iraq summoned Turkish and Iranian ambassadors on Thursday over their countries’ military operations targeting Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq this week, describing the attacks as violations of its sovereignty, Associated Press said. 

Turkey launched an airborne-and-land operation in northern Iraq on Wednesday dubbed “Operation Claw-Tiger,” against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it says maintains bases in Iraq.

Turkish ambassador Fatih Yıldız was first handed a summons to Iraq’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday and again on Thursday as the operation continued, AP said. 

According to an Iraqi ministry statement, the Turkish ambassador was given a “strongly worded protest note calling for the cessation of such provocative acts".

“We stress the necessity of the Turkish side's commitment to stop the bombing and the withdrawal of its forces from Iraqi territories that it penetrated yesterday,” the statement said.

Iraq on Thursday also summoned Iranian ambassador Iraj Masjedi to protest the bombardment of border villages in the Haji Omran area outside of Erbil the previous day, AP said.

In a statement, the Iraqi ministry condemned the attack and called on Iran to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

Al Arabiya English reported on Thursday that Turkey and Iran may be cooperating in their recent attacks on Kurdish areas.

“We suspect that the two sides [Turkey and Iran] are in coordination, because this is the first time that Turkey has bombed this area,” Al Arabiya quoted Haji Omran district mayor, Farzang Ahmed, as saying.

Jessica Leyland, senior intelligence analyst at AKE International, told Al Arabiya English: “I could not tell you whether Iran and Turkey are coordinating as nothing is made explicit but they may have to be, given that both have conducted air strikes in relatively close proximity.”

The attacks follow a meeting in Ankara earlier this week between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.

On Thursday, a Turkish official told Reuters that Ankara plans to set up more temporary military bases in the region.

"The plan is to establish temporary base areas (to) prevent the cleared regions from being used for the same purpose again. There are already more than 10 temporary bases there. New ones will be established," said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.