Four people were detained in connection with last week’s attack in Iraq’s northern province of Erbil in which a Turkish consulate official was killed, state-run Anadolu News Agency (AA) has reported.
Citing Iraqi security authorities the AA said one of the four suspects was Mazlum Dag, a brother to lawmaker Dersim Dag from the pro-Kurdish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The party later confirmed the AA’s report, strongly condemning the attack on the diplomat.
“Using the attack as a reason to make one of our lawmakers a target through the name of her brother is a provocation and unacceptable,” said the HDP.
On Wednesday, at least two people including Turkey’s Erbil Vice-Consul Osman Kose were shot dead in an allegedly planned assassination while they were having lunch in a restaurant in the neighborhood of Ainkawa.
Two gunmen reportedly entered the restaurant and opened fire, killing the Turkish diplomat and an Iraqi civilian.
Erbil is the capital city of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region which is led by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), where political violence is comparatively rare as it has been spared the civil war and ethnic strife that hit the rest of Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003.
A day after the incident the KRG called the incident a “premeditated terrorist attack.’’
Erbil’s security unit later announced the identity and photograph of 27-year-old Dag as the main suspect of the assassination.
At the time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack through his official Twitter account.
“I condemn the heinous attack on our diplomats in Erbil. I wish God’s mercy upon our diplomat who was martyred in the attack. Turkey asked Iraqi and regional authorities to swiftly find [the] perpetrators,” Erdogan tweeted.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The assassination took place weeks after Turkey launched a new military operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) last week launched the second stage of a campaign dubbed Operation Claw in northern Iraq following the first one that started on May 27 in the country’s Hakurk region.
The cross-border operation targets the PKK with artillery and operations by commando brigades as well as airstrikes by the Turkish Air Forces.
Its aim is to destroy shelters and caves used by the group and ‘neutralize’ its members, a term commonly used by the Turkish authorities to refer to killed, wounded or captured PKK members.
PKK, designated a terrorist group by Ankara has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule against the Turkish state in predominantly Kurdish areas of south-eastern Turkey since the early 1980s.