UPDATES WITH CONDOLENCE OFFERS FROM TRNC’ POLITICIANS, AZERBAIJAN, PAKISTAN AND UK EMBASSIES
By Havva Kara Aydin, Muhammet Ikbal Arslan and Ihvan Radoykov
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey received condolences from around the world over a terror attack where 13 Turkish citizens were found martyred by the PKK terrorist organizations in the Gara region of northern Iraq.
Bodies of 13 Turkish citizens were found during Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Iraq, according to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday.
Turkey launched Operation Claw-Eagle 2 on Feb. 10 to prevent the PKK/KCK and other terror groups from re-establishing positions used to carry out cross-border terror attacks.
Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle were initiated last June to ensure the safety of Turks, and Turkey's borders.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev conveyed condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the attack, and noted in an official message: “We are extremely outraged by this horrific act of terrorism against civilians and strongly condemn all manifestations of terrorism.”
“On the occasion of this tragedy, on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I extend my deepest condolences to you, the families and the loved ones of those who were killed and the brotherly people of Turkey,” he added.
****Also, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Turkey Khazar Ibrahim extended condolences to Turkey on Twitter and said: “Those who fought against Azerbaijani military in Karabakh were the same terrorists."
Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar, Prime Minister Ersan Saner and Foreign Minister Tahsin Ertugruloglu also offered their condolences.
Tatar condemned the terror attack and said: “On behalf of myself and the Turkish Cypriot people, I extend my condolences to 13 brothers and their families, relatives and the Turkish nation.”
In a statement, Saner called on all countries to cooperate in order to wipe out terrorism as soon as possible.
“I wish God's mercy upon our 13 brothers who were martyred by the treacherous PKK terrorist organization in Gara and our heroic soldiers who were martyred in Operation Claw-Eagle 2,” said the country’s foreign minister on Twitter.
“I was deeply saddened by the news that Turkish soldiers and civilians lost their lives in northern Iraq. I offer our condolences to Turkey and allies and to those affected at this difficult time,” said British Ambassador to Turkey Dominick Chilcott on Twitter.
The Pakistan Embassy in Ankara said on Twitter: “We strongly condemn the heinous atrocity committed by PKK which abducted and later martyred 13 Turkish citizens. Our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and the Turkish nation.”
Somali Justice Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur offered condolences to Turkey, saying: “Just like Turkey, Somalia has been fighting terrorism for many years and has given hundreds of thousands of innocent victims to terrorism.”
“So, as a Somali, I deeply feel and share the pain of the Turkish nation,” he added.
Bulgaria's Muslim affairs authority also conveyed condolences to Turkey over the attack, and said: “We strongly condemn the brutal murder of 13 Turkish civilians kidnapped by the PKK terrorist organization in the Gara region of northern Iraq.”
– Operation concludes
Forty-eight PKK terrorists, including two senior members, were neutralized during the “extremely special and critical" operation in the Gara region, the Turkish defense chief said.
Akar said the region was mostly cleared of the terror group. "The operation has been completed. Our land and air elements returned to their bases and barracks safely.”
During the campaign, more than 50 terror targets, including ammunition depots, caves, and bases in Gara were destroyed, he added.
Three Turkish soldiers were martyred and three others injured in the land operation, noted Akar.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.