Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Tuesday that Turkey’s cross-border operations in northern Iraq will be expanded, after the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) killed 13 Turkish citizens in the Gara region. Erdoğan indicated Turkey will expand its operations into areas where the PKK’s presence is dense. Furthermore, Turkish soldiers will stay and secure these areas for as long as necessary, in order to prevent similar attacks from ever happening again, said the Turkish President.
The bodies of the 13 citizens were found by Turkish soldiers during cross-border operations against the PKK terrorist organization. Reports given by the Turkish Defense Ministry indicate that 12 out of the 13 citizens were shot in the head, while one of them was shot on the body. Investigations that followed determined the identity of 10 of those killed. The identification of the remaining 3 people continues, according to officials.
The Turkish President also repeated Ankara’s complaints regarding the lack of international response for the murders. On Monday, the US released a statement which condemned the killings on the condition that the PKK confirms that it is responsible; an announcement that angered Ankara. On the evening of the statement, the US Ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry to convey Ankara’s anger to Washington.
For the past two years, Turkey has been conducting cross-border operations against the PKK, which has its headquarters stationed in the Qandil Mountains. The PKK is regarded as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom.