Iraq has formally complained — yet again — over Turkey’s escalating military presence on its soil. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday that it had summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires and handed him “a protest note” over “violations of Iraqi sovereignty” arising from the May 1 visit by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar to a Turkish military base in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey responded that it fully respected Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity and signaled its intention to carry on the operation, saying it was in line with efforts to eradicate rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Akar, who was accompanied by Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler and Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar, was briefed by local Turkish commanders about Turkey’s latest offensive against the PKK. “Operation Claw Lightening” is focused on Metina, a mountainous area bordering Turkey.