Protests against Turkish offensive in Iraq begin in Baghdad
Dozens of demonstrators chant 'Turkey out, out' in front of embassy
Iraqi security forces blocked roads leading to the Turkish embassy in Baghdad on Thursday after demonstrations broke out near the diplomatic building, local media reported.
Dozens of demonstrators protested against Turkey’s military offensive in northern Iraq, which was launched against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the northern Gara Mountain region this month.
Ankara considers the PKK a terrorist group.
Pictures and videos circulated on social media of protesters holding banners calling for Turkey to leave the country.
“We reject Turkey’s assault on Iraqi land. Turkey out, out,” it said.
The embassy is in Baghdad's Al Waziriya district, which lies outside the heavily fortified Green Zone, where foreign diplomats reside.
Turkey's military operation in the Gara region concluded on Sunday and was carried out to rescue 13 citizens kidnapped by Kurdish separatist forces, all of whom were found dead.
The operation was part of efforts to secure Turkey’s borders and find the missing citizens, said the Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.
The four-day military operation began with air strikes and artillery shelling before commandos and ground troops moved in. Turkey said it killed 48 PKK fighters and captured two, while three Turkish soldiers were killed and three were wounded.
Turkey has been fighting the Kurdish militant group along its borders with Syria and Iraq for several decades.
In the past year, Turkish forces conducted several cross-border operations into northern Iraq despite protests from Baghdad.
Last June, Turkey launched Operation Claw-Tiger in the mountainous terrain of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
It has used warplanes, drones and special forces. Authorities said hundreds of PKK targets were hit, but gave few details.
Updated: February 18, 2021 10:07 PM