Türkiye did not carry out any attack against civilians in northern Iraq's Duhok province, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday.
"According to information we received from the Turkish Armed Forces, we did not carry out any attack on civilians," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a live interview with national broadcaster TRT Haber.
Cavusoglu's remarks came a day after an attack in Duhok’s Zakho district killed eight people.
In a statement released after Wednesday's attack, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on Iraqi government officials not to make statements on the Duhok attack "under the influence of rhetoric and propaganda" of the PKK terrorist organization.
Turkish security sources also denied reports "in support of the terrorist organization PKK," which claimed the civilians lost their lives due to shelling by Turkish forces.
Cavusoglu pledged that Türkiye would “cooperate with the Iraqi authorities after the treacherous attack that we believe was carried out by terrorist groups.”
He added that Türkiye rejects both official and unofficial statements seeking to link it to the attack.
The PKK's propaganda in Iraq comes at a time when Türkiye is set to launch a new operation against the terror group’s offshoot the YPG/PKK in northern Syria, across the Turkish border, said Cavusoglu, urging Iraqi authorities must not fall into the trap of terrorist groups.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the European Union, and the US, and is responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the terrorist PKK’s Syrian branch.
Türkiye, said Cavusoglu, will continue its fight against terrorism in line with international law, only targeting terrorist groups.
"The whole world knows that Türkiye has never carried out an attack on civilians. We continue our fight against terrorism in accordance with international law," he added.
Denying allegations that protesters entered the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad after the attack, Cavusoglu said: "Entering our embassy is out of the question. Iraqi authorities have taken the necessary security measures everywhere. We thank them too. In front of some of our visa offices, a group of rabble-rousers burned our flag. Apart from that, there was a demonstration in front of our old embassy, and then they dispersed."
Finland, Sweden’s NATO bids
Cavusoglu said officials from Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden will meet in August to evaluate the progress made in fulfilling Ankara's counter-terrorism demands from the Nordic countries paving the way for NATO membership.
He said the meeting in August would be the first of a monitoring committee formed under a deal signed last month. He added that Türkiye would block their membership bids if Stockholm and Helsinki fail to keep their promises.
Sweden and Finland formally applied to join the transatlantic alliance in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.
But Türkiye, a NATO member for 70 years, voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the countries for tolerating and even supporting terror groups.
A trilateral agreement signed among the countries in June stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD, the PKK's Syrian offshoot, nor to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye, and said Ankara extends full support to Finland and Sweden against threats to their national security.