Iraqi leaders complained Monday that Turkey had not coordinated with Baghdad before sending dozens of warplanes to bomb Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq — the largest aerial attack in years against the outlawed separatist group.
In Turkey, a U.S. Embassy official in Ankara said Washington was informed about the operation.
“It was a Turkish operation, it was a Turkish decision. We were informed,” the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, as the official was not authorized to speak to the media.
The Iraqi parliament condemned the bombing, calling it an “outrageous” violation of Iraq’s sovereignty that killed innocent civilians.
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the Iraqi government thought Turkey would coordinate with it before striking the rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, inside Iraq on Sunday. He also indicated that the fact Iraqi civilians were killed showed Turkey had not hit the right target.
The attack came a month after the U.S. promised to share intelligence with Turkey to help combat the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK and Turkey’s military chief, Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, said U.S. intelligence was used Sunday.
“America gave intelligence,” Kanal D television quoted Buyukanit as saying. “But more importantly, America last night opened (the Iraqi) airspace to us. By opening the airspace, America gave its approval to this operation.”
In Washington, a Pentagon official said that the U.S. military has been sharing intelligence with the Turks, but that he did not know exactly what information was given to aid with the airstrikes or when it might have been given.
Another defense official said the U.S. had made sure Turkey would have clear use of the skies to enable the strikes.