Turkish PM reiterates support for 'united Iraq'
Turkey’s "unwavering support for Iraq" will continue, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Oct. 18, commenting on the recent operation launched by Baghdad against the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
“The Iraqi government’s steps towards establishing its constitutional sovereignty inside the country’s borders are valid and we support it,” he said in a speech at the TRT World Forum in Istanbul, adding that "all of Iraq’s ethnic groups should live side-by-side within a territorially integrated country."
Yıldırım also said Turkey expected Baghdad to show sensitivity in the Kirkuk region, where a large Turkmen population has lived alongside Arabs and Kurds.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Oct. 16 ordered the recapture of Kirkuk and all other disputed areas claimed by both the KRG and the central authorities in response to the Sept. 25 independence referendum.
As a result of the operation, Kurdish peshmerga forces have retreated to positions they held in northern Iraq in June 2014. The peshmerga pullback meant its forces were deployed once again roughly along KRG boundaries.
Turning to international conflict, Yıldırım said terrorism and war have become more widespread around the world while developed countries have been seeing a spike in extremism and xenophobia.
“Increasing racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and other discrimination in our age are marginalizing people and making societies more divided and fragile,” he said, adding that terrorism was the enemy of humanity and should be condemned without hesitation and fought through global cooperation.