Turkey, Iraq to establish mechanism for information exchange on PKK: Minister

Turkey, Iraq to establish mechanism for information exchange on PKK: Minister

Turkey, Iraq to establish mechanism for information exchange on PKK: Minister

Turkey and Iraq are planning to establish a new mechanism to provide an exchange of information for the struggle against the PKK, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Jan. 20.

“We will continue our mutual exchange of information and establish appropriate mechanisms for information exchange. We will continue our cooperation day and night to increase the effectiveness of these works. The parties showed their will in this regard,” he told reporters speaking at the Arbil consulate of Turkey.

“In this regard, I would like to emphasize that the will of the regional administration is very valuable, meaningful, and respectable,” Akar added, referring to the Kurdish regional administration in Northern Iraq.

Following his discussions in Baghdad, the defense minister held separate meetings on Jan. 19 with Northern Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government’s (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, former President of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region Masoud Barzani and current President Nechirvan Barzani.

In his talks in Baghdad and Arbil, the minister said they had reached a conclusion that will benefit the two countries and develop cooperation.

They expect important progress in the fight against terrorism with increased cooperation between Ankara and Baghdad, and also between Ankara and Arbil, the minister noted.

Akar expressed his expectation that enhancing this cooperation would soon yield results on the ground in the fight against the group.

“When we consider both the international environment and the current situation, we can say that the PKK has no hole left to escape in any way and that they are coming to an end,” the minister added.

Turkey is closely following developments in Iraq’s Sinjar district he said and reiterated Turkey’s readiness to support clearing the region of terrorists. “Turkey is ready to provide support for eliminating terrorists in Iraq’s Sinjar region if needed,” Akar said.

Iraqi security forces started to implement a deployment plan on Dec. 1 in the center of the Sinjar district of Iraq’s Nineveh province to enhance stability and security in the area and enable displaced locals to return home.

Iraqi government officials assured him that their security forces would take necessary measures in the upcoming period and that “terrorists” will be cleared from the region, Akar said.

The PKK managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in 2014, while ISIL was conducting attacks against the Yazidi communities of the region.

The minister stated that the issue of transforming Iraq into a “competition area by different powers” also came to the agenda during the talks and added, “We do not want this, we consider that this is not appropriate.”

More than 40,000 people have died in clashes between the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, and the Turkish state over the past 40 years.