Iraqi Kurdistan detains suspected shooter of Turkish vice consul
Story Code : 806121
The terror attack was carried out on Wednesday, when a gunman opened fire with two pistols on a group of Turkish diplomats in a restaurant in Erbil, killing Turkish Vice Consul Osman Kose and two Iraqi nationals, before fleeing in a car driven by an accomplice.
“The main perpetrator responsible for the Erbil restaurant shooting on July 17 has now been arrested by the counter-terrorism unit of Kurdistan Region, following a large-scale search operation,” said the Kurdistan Regional Government in a statement on Saturday.
It further identified the man as “Mazlum Dag,” a 27-year-old from Turkey's Diyarbakir region.
According to Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency, Mazlum’s brother, Dersim, is a pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy for Diyarbakir.
The HDP, Turkey’s second largest opposition group, is repeatedly accused by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of having alleged links to the country’s outlawed separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
The HDP has already “strongly” condemned the Erbil attack, calling it an “absolutely unacceptable provocation attempt.” It has also denounced the accusation that one of its deputies was “designated as a target because of his brother”, without mentioning any names.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the deadly attack.
PKK militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
Turkey, along with the European Union and the United States, has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.