SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey may hold a joint counter-terrorism operation with Iraq to oust Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters from Sinjar.
Erdogan told reporters that it was possible to launch a joint counter-terrorism operation with Iraq but he refused to confirm if such an operation would take place in the near future, Daily Sabah reported.
“Turkey is always ready to carry out joint operations against PKK with Iraq but we cannot openly announce the date for such operations,” Daily Sabah quoted Erdogan as saying following Friday prayers in Istanbul’s historic Üsküdar district on the Asian side.
“We may come there overnight all of a sudden,” Erdoğan added.
Erdogan’s remarks came after Turkish defense minister Hulusi Akar paid a two-day visit to Iraq and the Kurdistan Region on Monday, where he met with senior Iraqi and Kurdish officials to discuss bilateral ties and fight against the PKK.
Daily Sabah cited Akar as saying that Turkey’s aim was to eliminate the PKK threat with a spirit of unity and solidarity.
“Our struggle is entirely against the terrorist organization. We must strengthen our cooperation and take a decisive stand against the terrorist organization PKK,” Akar said on Tuesday, according to daily Sabah.
Turkey has conducted numerous ground and aerial cross-border offensives into neighboring northern Iraq to attack PKK fighters, who maintains bases in the region.
The PKK’s insurgency against the Turkish state is believed to have killed tens of thousands of people since being launched in 1984.