Turkey discusses anti-PKK fight with Iraqi officials
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said he met with senior Iraqi and Iraqi-Kurdish officials to discuss Turkey’s ongoing fight against the PKK terrorist organization, which had been using the Iraqi territories since the late 1980s.
Akar, who attended the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, held meetings with Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani and KRG Prime Minister Mesrur Barzani on the sidelines of the conference.
“I have very clearly told them: We have been fighting [against the PKK] for 40 years. We now need to get rid of this as soon as possible. We reminded them of our principle that wherever terrorists are, that is our target,” Akar told reporters in Munich on Feb. 20.
Turkey will continue its fight against all sorts of terrorist organizations until it secures its borders and protects the safety of the country and its citizens, Akar said, stressing that the Turkish army’s continued cross-border operations should not be seen as a disrespect to the neighboring countries.
“To the contrary, we want to be helpful to them. We are exerting efforts for establishing order, calm and peace by eliminating terror elements,” he stressed, informing that his Iraqi interlocutors also agreed on this
principle. “We are all on the same page in the fight against terror and getting rid of it as soon as possible.”
The minister also said he informed Iraqi authorities that the Turkish army is paying utmost sensitivity and attention in order not to harm civilians as well as historical, religious and cultural sites during the operations.
Turkey has long been continuing its military operations in northern Iraq where the PKK has its headquarters and training camps around the Kandil Mountains. Recent land and aerial operations had dealt a great blow on the PKK and its leadership, according to the Defense Ministry.