Turkey, Iraq agree to be in full cooperation against PKK
Turkey and Iraq have agreed on full cooperation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi saying his government has taken new measures to increase border security.
“We have come to a mutual agreement to be in full cooperation against the terrorists,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with al-Abadi on Aug. 14 in Ankara.
The Iraqi prime minister paid a one-day working visit to the Turkish capital, his first after elections in Baghdad in May.
The two leaders discussed security problems rising from the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq for more than three decades. The PKK has its main headquarters and training camps in the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq, on which Turkey has recently escalated its aerial and ground offensive.
“For us, there is no difference between the villains of Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL] and PKK murderers. They are both heinous organizations that do not even hesitate to kill babies,” Erdoğan said.
The president repeated Turkey’s expectations from the Iraqi government in its bid to determinately wipe out the PKK from Iraqi territories.
In return, al-Abadi said his government fully acknowledges Turkey’s security concerns and is committed to take measures to increase the protection of the border with Turkey. “We share the same views on border security. We are against any group using Iraqi territories to attack Turkey and other neighboring countries,” the prime minister said.
He also said the Iraqi National Security Council recently adopted measures for better protection of its border with Turkey.
The two also discussed Turkey’s plans to re-open its consulates in Basra and Mosul.
Al-Abadi also thanked Erdoğan for Turkey’s contribution to the reconstruction of Iraq and its support to increase water levels in River Tigris.
Erdoğan said a Turkish delegation will visit Iraq soon to analyze the right infrastructure needed for electricity generation.