Turkey denies targeting civilians in northern Iraq airstrikes: officials
A missile-loaded Turkish Air Force warplane takes off from the Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey, on July 28, 2015. (AFP/STR)
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Turkish armed forces have rejected all allegations that it targeted civilians in recent airstrikes in northern Iraq.
Referring to some media reports that claimed several civilians were killed and injured during an airstrike by Turkish jets in Zargala village in northern Iraq, the military in a statement rejected the allegations and clarified that the airstrikes only targeted members of "separatist terrorist organization," which is widely believed to be a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
“The allegations in the press have been reassessed; it has been determined that the hit target was not a village but in fact a sheltering area for terrorists who are members of a separatist terrorist organization,” the statement said.
“There was no civilian residential area in and around the impact range of the bombardment,” the statement added.
The military also said that targets were struck after “careful and detailed work” on the basis of visual data verified by its “skilled staff”.
Also on Sunday, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chairman Selahattin Demirtas said that his party would send a delegation to the region to prepare a report into the incident.
After some media outlets claimed that Turkish military airstrikes killed civilians in northern Iraq, Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Turkey would launch an investigation into the incident.
Tension has increased in Turkey after a string of deadly attacks in the country.
Security forces have come under attack across the country since the July 20 Suruc bombing in southeastern Turkey, which killed 32 people. The bombing was believed to be the work of Daesh.
Turkey has responded to the bloodshed by arresting more than 1,300 suspected supporters of outlawed groups, including Daesh, the PKK and the DHKP-C.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.
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