Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed on Friday regret over the death of 35 Kurdish civilians in an air strike on borders with Iraq Wednesday.
In press statements, Erdogan described the incident as “unfortunate and distressing”.
The Premier also offered his condolences to the families of the victims and vowed investigations in the incident.
Two Turkish F-16 fighter-bombers blasted a group of some 40 people crossing the Iraqi-Turkish border late on Wednesday night acting on information they were Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK fighters.
“Images transmitted by drones showed a group of 40 people in the area, it was impossible to say who they were,” Erdogan said.
“Afterwards it was determined they were smugglers transporting cigarettes and fuel on mules.”
The PKK took up arms in Kurdish-majority southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed about 45,000 lives. It is labeled a terrorist organization by Ankara and much of the international community.