The presence of the PKK terror group in northern Iraq is a threat that must be put to an end, Turkey's ambassador to Iraq's capital Baghdad said Monday.
Speaking at a forum held in Baghdad, Ali Rıza Güney said that relations between Turkey and Iraq will improve in every field, adding that "Our relations with Iraq are strategic. As two neighboring countries, we should have stronger and more dynamic relations."
Slamming the PKK presence in Iraq, Güney said that the group puts Iraq's stability in danger and added: "I get the impression from Iraq that while Deash is a real terrorist organization, the PKK is 'a kind of' terrorist organization. The PKK is a threat not only to Turkey but also to Iraq's security and stability."
"The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) realized this and understood the danger of this terrorist organization. I would also like to thank Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi for his cooperation on this issue. The PKK is a danger that must be ended in Iraq. Our cooperation and solidarity in this regard will also be important."
Ambassador Güney also emphasized that they will continue to support Iraq's sovereignty, stability and security.
Güney added that they hope the early elections scheduled to be held in October will improve the quality of life of the Iraqi people.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said terrorism will never have a place in the future of the region and Iraq.
"Terrorist groups such as Daesh, the PKK and (its Syrian branch) the YPG also threaten regional security," he said at an international conference in Baghdad. "We expect all friendly and neighboring countries to support our fight against this terrorist organization. We are ready to provide all kinds of support to the Iraqi state in its fight against this terrorist organization that poses a threat to Iraq's stability and violates its sovereignty."
Çavuşoğlu said Ankara will continue to support Baghdad to ensure the stability of Iraq, emphasizing the economic cooperation and partnership between the two nations.
Many PKK terrorist hideouts and bases are located in northern Iraq, from where they carry out attacks on Turkey.
The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. Turkey has long stressed that it will not tolerate terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy from targeting terrorist threats.
Turkey launched Operations Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avashin-Basyan regions near its borders.
In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women and children.
Most recently, three PKK terrorists were killed in airstrikes by Turkish forces in northern Iraq, the National Defense Ministry said on Monday.
The terrorists were detected through joint efforts by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the ministry said on Twitter.
They were targeted in airstrikes in Iraq's northern Metina region near the Turkish border, it added.
Later in the day, Turkish combat helicopters also eliminated two other PKK terrorists in the same region of northern Iraq, the ministry said in a later statement.
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