Turkey pledges support to Iraq’s bid to wipe out PKK
Turkey has said it will lend necessary support to Iraq in its efforts to clear the country from the PKK ahead of a key visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi to Ankara where improving cooperation in the fields of economy and security will be the main course of talks.
“We, as Turkey, will give all the necessary support for clearing the entire country of this terror organiza-tion,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a joint press conference with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on Dec. 16.
Hussein came to Ankara to prepare the visit by Al-Kadhimi upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Çavuşoğlu recalled an agreement between Baghdad and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government for wip-ing out the PKK and other terror organizations from Sinjar province of Iraq, describing the deal “as very im-portant for the future of Iraq.”
The PKK, which has its headquarters and training camps in different parts of northern Iraq, is designated as a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Turkey has long been urging the Iraqi authorities about the PKK using Sinjar as their new headquarters as it is no longer feeling safe in the region of Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq.
The PKK is attacking against the Kurds in northern Iraq and does not represent the Kurdish communities, Çavuşoğlu said, drawing attention to the rise in the PKK’s terror activities in northern Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah town.
“The PKK or YPG, whatever their names are, is the same organization and has started to attack the Kurds in Syria who don’t obey them. It’s a terror organization oppressing all the other ethnic groups; Aramaic, Yazidi, Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites,” he stated.
Turkey plans to lift visa to Iraqi nationals
He also informed that the two foreign ministers have agreed to set a working committee to craft a road map for the resumption of visa-free travel with Iraq. Turkey had to reinstate the visa regime on Iraq due to the deteriorated security conditions in the country with the rise of ISIL.
For his part, Hussein said they discussed the regional developments as well. “Our policy concerning Syria is well-known. We always work for the stability of Iraq. Whatever occurs in Syria impacts Iraq.”
Turkey and Iraq will work together for the de-escalation in the region, the minister said, citing efforts for the reconciliation between Qatar and the other Gulf countries.
“We are waiting Mr. Minister to Baghdad in the first month of the next year,” he said.