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Assassination of İsmail Özden
Operation "Bedirhan Mustafa Karakaya"
Part of the cross-border operations of the Turkish Armed Forces into Iraq
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Location Sinjar, Sinjar District, Nineveh Governorate, Iraq
36°19′21″N 41°51′51″E / 36.3225°N 41.86417°E / 36.3225; 41.86417Coordinates: 36°19′21″N 41°51′51″E / 36.3225°N 41.86417°E / 36.3225; 41.86417
Planned by Turkish Armed Forces and National Intelligence Organization of Turkey
Target İsmail Özden, a most-wanted terrorist leader
Date 15 August 2018 (2018-08-15)
around 16:00 local time
Executed by F-16 Fighting Falcon (Turkish Air Force) and Bayraktar TB2 UCAV (Turkish Land Forces)
Outcome target killed by airstrike
Casualties 11 killed
unknown injured

The Assassination of İsmail Özden took place on 15 August 2018 in Sinjar, northwestern Iraq. İsmail Özden, alias "Mam Zeki Şengali", was a senior Kurdish nationalist leader, who stood on the most-wanted terrorists list of the Turkish government. He was killed by a cross-border airstrike of the Turkish Armed Forces as he was traveling in a car in Sinjar, northwestern Iraq.[1]

İsmail Özden[edit | edit source]

İsmail Özden was born as of, a Kurdish citizen of Yazidi origin in Batman, Turkey in 1952.[2][3] Between 1992 and 1996, he carried out illegal activities in Germany. He was arrested in Germany in 1996 for his membership in the illegal militant organization Kurdistan Workers' Party (Kurdish language: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê, PKK). In 1998, he was released from jail. He became a member of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (Kurdish language: Koma Civakên Kurdistan, KCK), a Kurdish political organization incorporating also the PKK. He was appointed leader responsible for the so-called Sinjar Province, also known as Shingal, part of Sinjar District in the Nineveh Governorate, northwestern Iraq, replacing the former leaders of the same area, Turkish Vahiyettin Karay, alias Agit Civyan, and Iraqi Agit Kelar, who were both killed along with 33 others during a meeting in the Qandil Mountains, northeastern Iraq by a Turkish cross-border airstrike.[3] The PKK moved into the region after the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had left and the Iraqi government failed to take control in northern Iraq.[4][5] The militant Kurdish organization established bases in the mountainous area of Sinjar,[4] where an armed terrorist force of about 2,500 were stationed.[6] Özden moved in to Sinjar on 11 July 2011.[3] He became known as "Mam Zeki Şengali" or "Mam Zaki Shengali". He stood on the "Wanted Red List" for the most-wanted terrorists by the Turkish government.[1] The monetary reward for him amounted to Turkish lira symbol 8x10px.png 4 million (then more than US$1 millon).[6]

Assassination[edit | edit source]

On 15 August 2018, the Turkish Armed Forces (Turkish language: Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri, TSK) in cooperation with the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey (Turkish language: Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT) carried out a cross-border airstrike into Iraqi territory. The operation was named "Bedirhan Mustafa Karakaya" after a ten-month baby boy, who was killed along with his mother by an improvised explosive device of the PKK in their private car on the return way after their visit to the father serving as a gendarmerie sergeant stationed at Yüksekova, Hakkari, southeastern Turkey on 31 July 2018.[1][2][7] The MİT was able to listen Özden's satellite phone, and to localize his whereabouts.[3] His activity was observed three days long.[6]

A Turkish intelligence unit reported that Özden arrived in Kocho village at around 12:00 hours local time on 15 August 2018 for a ceremony in commemoration of the victims of the Sinjar massacre, which was perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the resident Yazidis in early August 2014. He remained about three and half hours in the region. Due to the presence of a large number of civilians around him, no operation started. He left the meeting place at around 15:30 in an armored vehicle in a convoy of four cars, which was observed by air and land around 20 minutes long.[6] The airstrike, which was carried out as part of a series of Turkish cross-border military operations with permission of the Iraqi government, and targeted the car of Özden,[4] started at around 16:00 hours when the convoy reached an uninhabited area.[6] An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft of the Turkish Air Force fired a laser-guided bomb towards the armored car. However, no desired effect was achieved, and the vehicles in the convoy started to escape. A second missile from the fighter aircraft successfully hit Özden's car. His driver and guards were killed, and the commander of Sinjar Resistance Units, code-named "Mazlum Şingal", who rode in another car, was severely wounded. Other body guards in the convoy carried the wounded Özden to the last car in the convoy, which tried to escape with a speed of around 90 km/h (56 mph). A Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicle of the Turkish Land Forces carried out a drone strike firing a missile, which completely destroyed the car carrying Özden. All passengers and Özden were killed at the spot. It was reported that the death toll of the operation reached eleven including Özden.[6] The entire operation took two hours and 24 minutes after the secret information was gathered by the Turkish side.[3] According to a spokesman of the Multi-National Force in Iraq, "Turkey alerted the Coalition of their intentions to strike in the Sinjar area, but did not give any further targeting information".[5]

Özden became so the first ever killed terrorist wanted on the Turkish government's red list, the yop list for most wanted ones.[2] The date of 15 August coincides with the day of the first ever attack of the PKK in Turkey, which took place in 1984, and is remembered as a propaganda subject by the PKK every year.[1][5]

References[edit | edit source]

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "TSK açıkladı: 'Mam Zeki Şengali' öldürüldü" (in tr). 15 August 2018. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/son-dakika-tsk-acikladi-mam-gundem-2725502/. Retrieved 18 August 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Sincar operasyonu son dakika haberi PKK’nın sözde sorumlusu öldürüldü İsmail Özden kimdir?" (in tr). 16 August 2018. https://www.aksam.com.tr/guncel/ismail-ozden-kimdir-sincar-operasyonu-son-dakika-haberi-pkknin-sozde-sorumlusu-olduruldu/haber-764788. Retrieved 18 August 2018. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Nefes kesen operasyon" (in tr). https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2018/08/17/nefes-kesen-operasyon. Retrieved 19 August 2018. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Callimachi, Rukmini (16 August 2018). "Turkish Airstrike in Iraqi Territory Kills a Kurdish Militant Leader". https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/16/world/middleeast/turkish-airstrike-in-iraqi-territory-kills-a-kurdish-militant-leader.html. Retrieved 18 August 2018. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Zaman, Amberin (16 August 2018). "Turkey kills PKK leader in Sinjar". https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/08/turkey-airstrike-kills-pkk-leader-sinjar.html. Retrieved 19 August 2018. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Akgüngör, İlker (17 August 2018). "3 gün adım adım izlendi, son darbeyi SİHA indirdi!" (in tr). http://www.gazetevatan.com/3-gun-adim-adim-izlendi-son-darbeyi-siha-indirdi--1191670-gundem/. Retrieved 19 August 2018. 
  7. "Şehit Bedirhan Mustafa bebeğin ismi anaokuluna verildi" (in tr). 6 August 2018. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/sehit-bedirhan-mustafa-bebegin-ismi-anaokuluna-40919790. Retrieved 18 August 2018. 
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