On Tuesday, July 26, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein demanded that the UN force Turkey to withdraw its troops from Iraq and end all violations of its sovereignty. He was speaking during a special session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on the killing of civilians in Zakho in Iraqi Kurdistan last week.
Hussein underlined the Iraqi position during his address, claiming that Turkey’s attack on Zakho “constitutes a military aggression against the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Iraq, and a breach and threat to regional and international peace and security.” He also called the attack a violation of international law and the UN charter.
Hussein demanded that the UNSC under its obligations in the UN charter pass a resolution demanding immediate withdrawal of “occupying military forces” from Iraq and take steps to stop all aggression inside the country by Turkish forces. He also demanded that the implementation of the resolution should be taken up under its supervision, with the cost of consequences in case of non-adherence.
During the session, United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) head and the UN Special Representative in Iraq Jeanine Hennis Plasschaert said, “the horrific attack on a well known and clearly identifiable tourist site demonstrates a shocking disregard for civilian life” and international humanitarian laws.
On July 20, Turkish forces carried out several rounds of artillery fire on a tourist resort in Parkha, Zakho, in Iraqi Kurdistan’s Mosul governorate, in which at least nine people were killed and 33 others were injured. The killings led to large-scale protests throughout Iraq.
Turkey has officially denied its involvement in the attack and blamed the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) for the same instead. The PKK has been banned and listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and some of its allies in the West. The PKK was formed to fight against the persecution of Kurdish minorities inside Turkey.
During the UNSC meeting, Turkish representative Oncu Keceli reiterated his government’s claims and proposed to help in finding out the ‘real’ culprits behind the attack. While Plasschaert acknowledged the need for finding the real culprits of the Zakho attack, she cautioned that the parties involved in the region should “put a stop to speculations and denials and misunderstandings.”
Turkish forces have been carrying out the so-called operation ‘Claw-lock’ inside Iraqi territories since April this year claiming to target PKK operatives. Its forces have invaded several border villages in Iraq and displaced thousands of people. Scores of Iraqis have died in various attacks carried out by Turkey in the operation so far. Turkey initially claimed that its operation inside Iraq was carried out in coordination with the Iraqi authorities. However, Iraqi authorities have denied any such coordination.