Turkey will keep striking Kurdish PKK fighters in northern Iraq, the foreign ministry said on Saturday, a day after Baghdad formally complained that repeated Turkish air strikes violated its sovereignty and endangered civilians.
The Turkish military said on Friday it killed eight Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, prompting Iraqi authorities to summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad.
Turkey regularly hits PKK bases across its southern border, saying the militants use the remote and mountainous northern Iraqi region as a base for deadly attacks inside Turkey, where the outlawed group has waged an insurgency since the 1980s.
President Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch a ground offensive in northern Iraq earlier this year. This week he also announced an imminent operation against a Kurdish militia in neighbouring Syria.
The U.S.-backed YPG militia, which has been fighting Islamic State in Syria, controls Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey. Ankara says it is an extension of the PKK and poses a direct threat to Turkey.
“The activities of the PKK terrorist organisation in the territory of Iraq and Syria have become a national security issue for Turkey,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.