Six Turkish soldiers killed in attack on Iraq base

Six Turkish soldiers killed in attack on Iraq base

BAGHDAD (AFP): Six Turkish soldiers were killed and seven others wounded in an attack on a Turkish military base in northern Iraq, Turkey’s defence ministry said Friday.

The ministry said the soldiers were killed during a clash with “terrorists” following an attempted intrusion at the base near Metina in northern Iraq.

It had initially given the toll as five dead, but one soldier later succumbed to his wounds.

The assailants were presumed to be members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), private Turkish channel NTV reported. Ankara and its Western allies classify the PKK as a terrorist group.

Turkish authorities announced a military operation was under way in the area in response.

As a result of these deaths, the ruling AKP party and the main opposition CHP party both decided to postpone the presentation of their candidates for the March municipal elections, which had been scheduled for this weekend.

AKP party spokesman Omer Celik said the decision was taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan had promised that the names of the AKP candidates would be revealed on Sunday for the country’s main cities, including the capital Ankara.

CHP head  Ozgur Ozel said on X, formerly Twitter, that the candidate presentations and “all other events” planned, had been postponed.

Twelve Turkish soldiers were killed in late December in two separate attacks on Turkish military bases in northern Iraq.

The Turkish army regularly launches military ground and air operations against PKK fighters and their positions in northern Iraq, as well as autonomous Kurdistan or in the mountainous Iraqi region of Sinjar close to the Turkish border.

In the past 25 years Turkey has installed several dozen military bases in Iraqi Kurdistan to fight the group, which also has rear bases in the area.

The PKK, which has been involved in an armed struggle against Ankara since 1984, claimed responsibility last October for an attack on the headquarters of the Turkish interior ministry in Ankara. Two police officers were injured.

Turkey bombs ‘terrorist targets’ in Iraq and Syria

Turkey conducted overnight air strikes on nearly 30 “terrorist targets” in northern Iraq and Syria after nine of its soldiers were killed in a military base in Iraq, the defence ministry said Saturday.

“Air operations were carried out on terrorist targets in the regions of Metina, Hakurk, Gara and Qandil,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Turkish soldiers were killed during clashes that followed an attempted intrusion at the base near the northern Iraqi city of Metina, the ministry said, revising upward a previous toll of five.

The ministry said the strikes had targeted 29 locations including “caves, bunkers, shelters and oil installations” belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the YPG (People’s Protection Units), a Syrian Kurdish militia which is a central element of US-allied forces in a coalition against Islamic State.

Ankara has operated several dozen military posts in the area for the past 25 years in its decades-old war against the PKK, a group blacklisted by Turkey and many of its Western allies as a terrorist organisation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was due to hold an emergency security meeting Saturday in Istanbul to discuss the uptick in attacks on troops in the region.

Meanwhile, 113 people were arrested for suspected links with the PKK in nationwide raids on Saturday, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on X, formerly Twitter.