Turkish army’s drill on Iraqi border enters fourth day
ANKARAThe Turkish army entered the fourth day of a military drill on the Iraqi border on Sept. 21, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The military has enclosed an empty area located just two kilometers away from the Habur border gate, where the drill started on Sept. 18, with razor wire barriers. The safety of the Turkish soldiers is being provided by a professional team, who are ready to take an immediate step in case of a threat.
Turkey’s National Security Council (MGK) will decide if the placement of the soldiers and military vehicles at the border will be temporary or will last for a longer time during a meeting to take place on Sept. 22 in the capital Ankara.
The military exercise came just a week before a referendum on the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The exercise began in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Silopi district, which sits to the north of the Syrian and Iraqi borders. The army said the exercise is “part of Turkey’s anti-terror operations” in the border region.
Around 100 military vehicles including tanks, towed howitzers, and launching pads were reported to be participating in the drill, initial reports said.
The move came after Turkey hardened its opposition to the KRG’s referendum bid, saying KRG President Massoud Barzani’s push to hold the vote is an issue of national security and Ankara will take “all necessary measures.”
Turkey is also continuing its diplomatic efforts to push Arbil to cancel the referendum.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously said Turkey’s “decisive stance” will be announced on Sept. 22 following the MGK meeting under his leadership and with the participation of senior military and civilian officials.