Turkey in contact with Iran over military op on PKK by Iran-Iraq border: FM Çavuşoğlu
Turkey is in contact with Iran about conducting a military operation against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in the northern Iraqi region of Kandil by the Iranian border, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşolu said on June 13.
“We are in contact with Iran,” Çavuşoğlu told private broadcaster Habertürk.
“PKK is a threat to them as well. Kandil is very close to the Iranian border ... We will improve cooperation with Iran.”
Turkish forces begin striking Kandil, Sinjar
Turkey recently launched military operations to eliminate the PKK in northern Iraq, targeting its headquarters in the Kandil Mountain region and in the Sinjar province of the country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on June 11.
“Remember that I mentioned about Kandil and Sinjar in northern Iraq. We have launched operations against there. Fourteen important targets have been hit by 20 of our warplanes,” Erdoğan said in a campaign rally in the Central Anatolian province of Niğde.
“Our warplanes returned to their bases after they hit [the PKK]. But it’s not over. Our objective is to drain the biggest swamp [of terror]. Kandil will no longer be a threat and source of terror,” he added.
Ankara’s preparations for a large-scale operation against the PKK presence in the northern Iraq began in early March with Special Forces and a scores of troops penetrating into the difficult terrain to set up regional bases. Turkey now has 11 bases in northern Iraq in a bid to effectively and sustainably fight against the PKK, which for decades has enjoyed a relative security vacuum in the region.
‘Turkey in contact with US, Baghdad over operation’
In a recent interview, Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey was in talks with the United States, the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Arbil for a four-way coordination to finally put an end to the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq.
Refugee camp Mahmur another possible target: Erdoğan
“A military operation targeting PKK bases in Kandil and Sinjar will be launched if Turkey is threatened and if Baghdad says it is unable to solve the problem.” Erdoğan said on June 7.
He also said that the United Nations refugee camp Mahmur in the Arbil governorate could be another target, claiming that it has become a PKK hub.