Turkish FM calls for joint efforts with Iran against PKK
Turkey should be in constant cooperation with Iran in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) but Tehran is in a “de-escalation” process with the group’s affiliate Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) at the moment, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on June 22.
“The PKK and Iran are currently in a de-conflict phase. Tehran knows that the group is ‘a cell sleeping’ on its soil at the moment. But the group may target Iran again any moment,” the minister said in a televised interview.
“If the PKK/PJAK is not attacking Iran at the moment that does not mean they will not do two days later. Iran is aware of this,” he said.
The minister was elaborating on Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northern Iraq against PKK positions near Qandil region, where the PKK has its headquarters. Turkey is not in a cooperation or coordination yet with Iran for the current offensive in Iraq, the minister had said in his earlier statements.
“Iraq and Iran currently do not have any roles,” Çavuşoğlu said earlier.
The Turkish military has been carrying out the operation against the PKK in Iraq since March. Turkey has 11 bases established in the region and troops are moving roughly 30 kilometers in the Harkurk region that falls northeast of Qandil.
The PKK reportedly has hideouts at the foot of the Qandil Mountains along the Iraq-Iran border.
Iran hasn’t given strong support to Turkey so far, giving out low-profile statements until now. It declined to take part in any possible joint operation with Turkey against the PKK in Iraq.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran thinks military action against the territory of another country without permission from its legitimate government, with the excuse of combating terrorism, is illegal,” Iran’s military spokesperson Gen. Abulfazil Sherkarchi had stated.