Iraq summons Turkish diplomat in protest against Akar’s visit to Duhok

Iraqi foreign ministry’s senior undersecretary Nizar al-Khairallah meets the charge d’affairs at the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, May 3, 2021. (Iraqi FM photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — The Iraqi foreign ministry on Monday summoned a Turkish diplomat in protest against Turkish defense minister’s visit to a military base in the Kurdistan Region.

Iraq’s foreign ministry said it had summoned the charge d’affairs at the Turkish embassy in Baghdad to protest against Hulusi Akar’s visit to a Turkish base in northern Iraq.

Akar, accompanied by several military commanders, paid a visit to Turkey’s Bilic Tepe Base in the Kurdistan Region’s province of Duhok on Saturday evening, according to the Turkish ministry of defense.

Iraqi foreign ministry’s senior undersecretary Nizar al-Khairallah handed the Turkish diplomat a protest note expressing the Iraqi government’s “strong dissatisfaction and condemnation of the presence of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Iraqi lands without coordination or prior approval from authorities”, the statement read.

The Iraqi government’s note also denounced Akar’s meeting with Turkish forces that it says are in the country illegally, the statement said.

“The note also condemned the statements of the Turkish minister of interior regarding Turkey’s intention to establish a permanent military base in northern Iraq,” the ministry said.

“The Iraqi government categorically rejects the continuing violations of Iraqi sovereignty and sanctity of its lands and airspace by the Turkish military,” it added.

Turkey has set up dozens of military bases in Duhok, according to Kurdish officials.

It set up three new military points in Amedi district last week amid operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The Turkish military launched a new ground and air defensive against the PKK in Duhok on April 23. Turkish media reported that commando forces landed in the Metina region from helicopters.

Besides troop deployment, Turkish warplanes continue to bomb areas where suspected PKK positions are thought to be presence.

Turkey has conducted numerous ground and aerial cross-border offensives into neighboring northern Iraq to attack the PKK fighters, who maintains bases in the region.

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