(Photo credit: New York Times)
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadhimi announced a day of national mourning across Iraq on 21 July after artillery fire by the Turkish military a day prior left nine civilians dead and 23 injured, including women and children.
Turkish artillery fire targeted a tourist resort in the Parakh village of the Zakho district in the province of Dohuk in Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
According to Chiya Amin, the head of the tourism directorate in Zakho, the victims were part of a 200-member group visiting the area from the capital.
Kadhimi also instructed Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein to head an investigative committee made up of several high-ranking officials, in order to investigate the incident for which PM Kadhimi explicitly blamed Ankara.
The day before, the Foreign Ministry of Iraq announced a high-level diplomatic response to the Turkish attack, and a referral of the case to the UN Security Council (UNSC).
The Iraqi Council of Representatives has also called on the foreign ministry to make a list of all previous Turkish attacks and violations on the sovereignty of the country as a basis to file an urgent complaint against Turkey at the UNSC.
The Arab Parliament, the legislative body of the Arab League, released a statement on 21 July, condemning the attack as “a brazen violation of all international conventions and norms, and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of Iraq.”
The statement also emphasized solidarity with Baghdad, and called on Ankara to stop its continuous violation of Iraqi sovereignty and its “hostile acts” against the country.
In another statement of condemnation, the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran announced its sympathy with the families of the victims, emphasizing the importance of Iraq’s stability and security.
Iran “will not hesitate to provide any assistance in this regard,” Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.
Meanwhile, Ankara has attempted to evade responsibility for the attack, announcing its condolences for the victims in a statement by its foreign ministry, saying that it is “ready to take every step for the truth to come out.”
“We call on the Iraqi government to not make remarks influenced by the rhetoric and propaganda of the terrorist organization,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said, in reference to the Kurdistan Workers Party, “and to engage in cooperation to uncover the perpetrators of this cruel act.”
In recent months, attacks by Turkey on Iraqi soil have been carried out continuously without Iraq’s approval.
Ankara claims Baghdad supports its military activities against the PKK, but the Iraqi government has categorically denied such statements, stating that there is no cooperation or approval for Turkish military actions inside Iraq.
Just days before the attack on the tourist destination, a drone strike launched by the Turkish army left five civilians dead.
The Turkish military also bombed the northern province of Sinjar last month, leaving behind several casualties, including a 12-year-old child.