Erdogan says Baghdad, Erbil back Turkey’s operation against PKK

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after a Cabinet meeting held at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, June 29, 2020. (Anadolu Agency)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Baghdad and Erbil supported Turkey’s cross-border operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province.

On Monday, Turkey’s defense ministry announced an air and ground operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in several areas in Duhok.

Turkish warplanes, helicopters, drones, commandos and special forces participated in the air and land operation, Turkey’s defense ministry said on Monday.

“I thank the central government in Iraq and the regional administration for their support to our fight against terror,” Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling party, according to AFP.

His comments came one day after the Iraqi foreign ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad Ali Riza Guney to lodge a formal protest against the operation in the country.

“The Iraqi government renews its call for the withdrawal of all Turkish forces from Iraqi territories in a manner that reflects binding respect for national sovereignty,” it added.

The Iraqi presidency also condemned the operation as a threat to national security.

“The repetition of Turkish military operations inside the Iraqi borders and without coordination with the Iraqi federal government despite previous calls to stop them … is unacceptable,” it said in a statement.

Turkey’s armed forces have reported the death of two soldiers and dozens of PKK fighters since the launch of their third offensive in Iraq since 2020.

Some analysts believe that Iraqi leaders – while lodging formal protests – are privately happy that Turkey is trying to punish PKK fighters, AFP reported.

The Turkish defense ministry said on Monday that the operation was “carried out in coordination with our friends and allies,” without giving further details.

Reuters cited Turkish officials as saying that they believe Baghdad is firmly on their side in fighting the PKK.

Turkey’s offensive came a few days after Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

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