Turkey: Iraq withdraws from Islamic games

Iraq decided Sunday to withdraw from the Islamic Solidarity Games scheduled to be held in neighboring Turkey in August to protest against a deadly bombardment on an Iraqi resort.

A statement by Iraq’s National Olympic Committee said the withdrawal was decided during a committee meeting, which was held to discuss the latest tension between Iraq and Turkey after a Turkish bombardment that killed and wounded many civilians at a resort in Duhok province in northern Iraq.

The withdrawal was consistent with the stance of the Iraqi government and parliament as well as the majority of Iraqis, according to the statement.

The 5th edition of the Islamic Solidarity Games is scheduled to be held on Aug. 9-18 at Konya in Turkey.

A suspected Turkish bombardment hit a Duhok resort in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan on Wednesday, leaving nine civilians dead and dozens wounded. The Iraqi government accuses the Turkish forces of carrying out the attack, a charge Ankara has denied.

Turkish forces frequently carry out ground operations, airstrikes, and artillery bombardments in Iraq’s Kurdistan, especially the Qandil Mountains, the main base of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades. ■

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