Iraq calls for Turkey to stop bombing and withdraw troops in the north

Baghdad on Thursday demanded an immediate halt to the Ankara invasion of northern Iraq, where Turkish special forces and helicopters are targeting Kurdish insurgency.

Turkey launched a cross-border operation early Wednesday morning in the highlands of northern Iraq, where it is believed to be hiding outside the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered an "extremist" group by Ankara.

Iraq's Foreign Ministry summoned Turkish Ambassador Fatah Yildiz on Thursday and issued a "strongly worded memorandum to stop such provocative acts."

"We insist that Turkey stop its bombing and withdraw its occupation forces from the territory of Iraq," the ministry said in a statement.

"We affirm that they refute these violations," he said.

This is the second time in the week that the Foreign Ministry has been summoned by Baghdad Yildiz against the PKK stalking, after Tuesday's bombing in northern Iraq.

After that meeting, Yildiz said he told Iraqi officials that Ankara would continue to "fight wherever the PKK was," if Baghdad did not act against the insurgents.

The PKK has been in revolt against the Turkish state since 1984, utilizing the rugged mountains of neighboring Iraq as a base.

It has ties to the semi-autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq (KRG), which is deemed a rival to the PKK but unable to deport it from the region.

Analysts say the Turkish operation, known as the "claw-tiger", would not have taken place without the KRG's silent permission.

Iraq's new foreign minister, Fawad Hussein, a Kurdish who has been in touch with KRG bosses, made no comment.

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