MADRID, 22 (EUROPA PRESS)
The Turkish authorities have identified the 13 hostages on Monday, including members of the Police and the Army, who were executed at the hands of militiamen in northern Iraq.
As the authorities of the Malatya province, in the east of the country, have explained, one of the hostages was an Iraqi citizen, whose body has been repatriated. The Government had previously announced that the 13 victims were Turkish.
Their bodies were found in a cave, the Defense Ministry announced on February 14, when it blamed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) for their deaths.
The PKK have alleged that the deceased were members of the security forces who were being held as prisoners and have denounced the bombings of the place by the Turkish aviation.
Ankara launched Operation ‘Eagle Claw 2’ in northern Iraq on February 10. As part of this operation, which represents an increase in Ankara’s military offensives against the PKK in the east and south-east of the country and the north of Iraq, which is predominantly Kurdish, the Turkish forces intended to rescue 13 Turkish hostages. However, all of them would have died during the mission.
More than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, have died since the PKK – considered a terrorist organization by the Turkish government – took up arms in 1984. Military operations against the PKK have been accompanied by a campaign of arrests and convictions against members and followers of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the country’s third-largest political force.