Turkish PM dismisses reports of violating Iraqi airspace20/07/2012 15:58
ERBIL, July 20 (AKnews)- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refuted the reports that his country has trespassed the Iraqi airspace, Turkish Daily News said today.
Erdogan told the reporters in Istanbul late July 19 that Turkey is only conducting aerial operations against "terrorists" in northern Iraq.
He said "I’ve been told [by some Iraqi officials] ‘We are not strong enough in the fight against terrorism.’ And we do what is necessary in case of an attack coming from [northern Iraq]," Turkish PM said.
Erdoğan’s statement came after Baghdad vowed to apply to the UN seeking condemnation of countries that violate Iraqi airspace, including Turkey.
A report by Xendan news agency said that in the course of only one month the Iraqi radars have traced Turkish war crafts trespassing Iraqi aerial space 100 times.
Xendan's report added therefore Iraqi Council of Ministers has demanded to reduce trade exchange with Turkey.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Iraq had closed its airspace to Turkish civilian flights as well. Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay denied these reports yesterday, according to Daily News.
Atalay said Iraq has the primary responsibility for taking measures against terrorists based in its territories who commit deadly attacks against Turkey, in line with the trilateral mechanism between Turkey, the U.S. and Iraq.
Atalay added “We told Iraq and the U.S. that we would prefer for Iraq to stop these terrorist activities. If you [Iraq] do it, we’ll give priority to this. If not, then we’ll do it.
"Our military operations have been carried out based upon intelligence provided by [Iraq]. They are informed of our operations."
The attacks by Turkey against the bordering territories of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region are ostensibly to expel the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have taken hideouts in the mountainous triangle on Iraq-Turkey-Iran borders.
The bombardments of the Iraqi Kurdistan borders and enforcing an oil deal with Kurdistan Region have deteriorated relations between Baghdad and Ankara.
Last week tankers carrying Kurdistan crude oil crossed the border into Turkey, against the wish of Baghdad, which labeled the deal "illegal."