ERBIL/SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) – Safety companies in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish area mentioned on Saturday that they had arrested the brother of a lawmaker serving within the Turkish parliament for the assassination of a Turkish diplomat within the Iraqi Kurdish regional capital Erbil.
The diplomat was considered one of not less than two individuals shot lifeless on Wednesday when a gunman opened hearth in a restaurant the place Turkish diplomats had been eating.
“The Kurdistan Area introduced on Saturday the arrest of the person who deliberate the assassination of a Turkish diplomat in a restaurant in Erbil, lower than per week after the assault,” the Asayish inner safety service mentioned in a press release.
It didn’t title the suspect however mentioned “reviews indicated” that his sister served as a Kurdish lawmaker within the Turkish parliament. A separate assertion from one other Iraqi Kurdish safety pressure, the Counter Terrorism Division, gave the suspect’s title as Mazlum Dag.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Folks’s Democratic Get together (HDP) later confirmed that the person who had been arrested was the brother of considered one of its lawmakers, Dersim Dag.
It mentioned it strongly condemned the assault on the diplomat, and mentioned “utilizing the assault as a motive to make considered one of our lawmakers a goal by way of the title of her brother is a provocation and unacceptable”.
Political violence is relatively uncommon in Erbil, capital of Iraq’s semi-autonomous northern Kurdish area, which has been spared the civil warfare and ethnic strife that hit the remainder of Iraq for the reason that U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
The shooter fled in a automotive pushed by an confederate, two Kurdish safety officers and a witness mentioned.
The assault occurred weeks after Turkey launched a brand new navy offensive in opposition to Kurdish separatist militants primarily based in northern Iraq.
Ankara’s predominant enemy in Iraq is the PKK group, which has primarily based fighters within the mountainous border area, north of Erbil, throughout a decades-long insurgency in southeastern Turkey.
Turkey and the ruling Kurdish occasion in Erbil, the KDP, have blamed the PKK for different Turkey-related incidents in northern Iraq together with the storming of a Turkish navy camp earlier this yr.
Reporting by Azad Lashkari in Erbil, Ali Sultan in Sulaimaniya and Ece Toksabay in Ankara; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; Modifying by Peter Graff