Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Friday termed the deaths of 35 people in Iraq near the Turkish border on Wednesday in military airstrikes “unfortunate and saddening,” expressing condolences to the families of the victims.
Gul told reporters as he was leaving a mosque in Istanbul after the Friday prayer that the incident had plunged the whole country, both civilians and the military, into deep grief.
“May God’s mercy be upon those who lost their lives. I would like to convey my condolences to their families. Our pain is great for we faced an unfortunate incident which we never wanted to think about, let alone have happen to us,” he said. The president said the incident will be thoroughly investigated.
Thirty-five people were mistakenly killed in an overnight airstrike by Turkish warplanes on Wednesday night in an operation which targeted the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Officials confirmed that those who were killed in the airstrike were cigarette smugglers and not terrorists.