France’s foreign ministry has refused to comment on a mysterious deadly incident involving a French-made helicopter, which reportedly carried suspected PKK terrorists, before it crashed in northern Iraq two days ago.
In response to an Anadolu news agency query about the incident, the French Foreign Ministry said on Friday, “We have no comment.”
The aircraft, a Eurocopter AS350, crashed on Wednesday evening in Dohuk province in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region, “killing all passengers”, counter-terrorism officials from the region said.
Lawk Ghafuri, the head of foreign media relations in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), wrote on social media that “at least five passengers of the helicopter” had been killed.
“Some of the passengers who were killed during the incident were PKK members according to initial investigations,” he told AFP news agency in a separate interview.
The KRG clarified that the helicopter did not belong to the PKK, but it confirmed that a number of terrorists were on board the aircraft.
The KRG also said it had contacted the Iraqi government, the US-led international coalition forces, and the Turkish government regarding the crash, and all three parties denied that the helicopter was theirs.
A so-called spokesperson for the PKK terror group was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying they may have a coalition helicopter carrying members of the YPG, PKK’s Syrian wing.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition declined to comment, saying the crash fell outside the scope of the coalition’s operations.
Turkish defence ministry officials said that initial reports that the helicopter had been Turkish were “completely untrue” and that there was no helicopter flight belonging to the Turkish military in the region.
A detailed investigation is underway to ascertain who owned the helicopter.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organisation by Türkiye, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.