ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Foreign Ministry of Iraq on Sunday condemned Turkish forces opening fire on civilians in the Kurdistan Region’s town of Sheladize and summoned Turkey’s envoy in Baghdad.
Hundreds of people in the northern town of Sheladize on Saturday protested Turkey’s ongoing bombardment of their villages after recent Turkish bombings left at least four civilians dead.
The protest quickly turned violent with some people setting fire to Turkish military vehicles at a base in Duhok. Two protesters were killed, and 16 more were wounded, according to the health directorate in Sheladize.
The casualties are believed to be the result of Turkish forces allegedly opening fire on the crowds to prevent protesters from approaching the base.
Following the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) statement, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned “Turkish forces opening fire on our citizens in Sheladize… which resulted in the death and injuries of some people.”
“This was followed by Turkish military aircraft flying at low altitudes,” the statement added.
The Ministry also noted they were summoning the Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad and sending a note to Ankara demanding such an incident never be repeated in Iraq.
It stressed the Iraqi government’s strong condemnation of any violations of its security and sovereignty by any country. The Ministry also noted that it condemns “the use of its territory to threaten the security and safety of any neighboring country.”
Demonstrators in Sheladize, located in the Duhok province’s Amedi region, took to the streets, holding up signs and shouting slogans calling on the Turkish military and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) to “take their fight elsewhere.”
Protestors urged both Turkey and the PKK to stop using villages as their battleground.
On Wednesday, Turkish warplanes heavily bombarded the Kurdistan Region’s Amedi border areas, killing four civilians. Two other people are believed to still be missing.
The Turkish shelling was reportedly meant to target PKK fighters in the region, a group that has been fighting a decades-long insurgency with Ankara over Kurdish rights and self-rule.
The PKK is thought to have fighters near hundreds of villages inside the Kurdistan Region, mainly in the mountainous areas near the Turkish border.
Hundreds of villages along the Turkish-Kurdistan border have been evacuated due to the ongoing violence.
Over the past years, the KRG has repeatedly called on the PKK to stop using the region as a launchpad for its attacks.
As part of the conflict, the Turkish army has crossed its southern border several times in the past year, in some places, up 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) deep into the Kurdistan Region.
Editing by Nadia Riva