Turkey expects Baghdad, Arbil to take more concrete actions against PKK
ANKARATurkey expects more concrete and goal-oriented moves from Baghdad and Arbil in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a senior government official has said, stressing that anti-terror fight and the status of the Turkish military training camp in Bashiqa will be among top issues to be discussed during Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s visit to Iraq this weekend.
“Turkey’s expectations from Iraqi officials in Baghdad or in Arbil are to take clear, absolute and goal-oriented measures, because everybody knows about the terrorist organization’s [PKK] structure there,” Presidential Spokesperson İbrahin Kalın told private broadcaster Kanal 24 in an interview on Jan. 5.
He said the PKK has been long attacking Turkey from Iraqi territories and that it was not possible for Turkey to tolerate it.
PKK whose main headquarters and training camps are based in Kandil Mountain in northern Iraq has been trying to expand its influence to Sinjar province of Iraq by taking the advantage of political vacuum due to ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in Mosul. Turkey urged PKK that it won’t allow it to turn “Sinjar another Kandil” in Iraq.
Prime Minister Yıldırım is expected to pay a visit to Iraq over the weekend where he will hold talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani in Arbil.
Al-Abadi vowed Baghdad would not allow the PKK to use Iraqi soils as a launch pad for attacking Turkey before Yıldırım’s visit.
Bashiqa’s status will be raised
Kalın said the two prime ministers will also discuss the status of Turkey’s military camp in Bashiqa near Mosul, an issue that strained bilateral ties severely early 2016. Baghdad had urged Ankara to immediately withdraw its troops from Bashiqa while the latter stressed its presence was upon Iraqi officials’ invitation. Turkish troops have been training local Sunni groups in their fight against ISIL.
“Our objective [of our presence] there is to support Iraq’s fight against terror and to provide Iraq’s territorial integrity,” Kalın said.
Cross-border ops in Iraq
“We will carefully continue to follow the security situation there. Our aerial operations against the PKK around Kandil are already underway,” he stated.