Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Saturday strongly condemned a deadly terrorist attack in Turkey’s southeastern province of Batman.
Qassemi expressed sympathy with the Turkish government, nation and bereaved families of the victims, the ministry’s official website reported.
Eight Turkish soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in the attack by Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) on Wednesday in Batman.
“The terrorists detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) planted in the road when an armored military vehicle was passing through the rural area of Gercus district,” the Batman governor’s office said in statement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday vowed to “finish” Kurdish militants in Iraq’s Sinjar and Qandil regions to avenge the eight Turkish soldiers killed in the country, Reuters reported.
Speaking to members of his ruling AK Party at the start of a two-day summit in the outskirts of Ankara, Erdogan said the PKK would pay the price for the eight soldiers.
“Do we have eight martyrs? Then let those terrorists know that they will pay the price for this with at least 800,” he said. “We will finish them by going into their dens, their holes. We will end them in Sinjar and in Qandil.”
The comments marked Erdogan’s strongest warning of a potential offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq in recent weeks.
Turkey has in recent months carried out strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq, especially its stronghold in the Qandil Mountains, but warnings of a ground offensive into the area had largely died down following the June elections.
The PKK, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, Turkey and the European Union, has waged an insurgency against the state since the 1980s.
Violence in the largely Kurdish southeast has worsened since the collapse of a cease-fire in 2015 and the government has carried out widespread operations to capture the militants in Turkey as well.
Over the past two days, Turkish authorities have detained 137 people over suspected links to the PKK in operations across the country, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.