PKK terrorists escaping Operation Winter Eagle carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Feb. 2 in northern Iraq and Syria infiltrated the Iraqi city of Kirkuk disguised as artisans, a local official said.
After Operation Winter Eagle, PKK terrorists started to show up and began to settle in Kirkuk under the guise of "tradespeople" and "investors" with false identities, Muhammed Saman, a spokeperson for the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Friday. Saman also stated that terrorists rented out some workplaces in the city, such as wedding halls and cafes.
Noting that the Iraqi Intelligence Organization has knowledge of the PKK terrorist organization's presence in Kirkuk, Saman said that the intelligence organization could not intervene in the situation due to the ongoing political crisis in the country.
Underlining that the PKK has rapidly increased its presence in Kirkuk, Saman noted that this puts the life of Turkmen officials and politicians in danger.
"According to Iraqi Intelligence, PKK terrorist organization members also collect information about road routes as well as home and workplace addresses of Turkmen officials. If it increases, the terrorists will attack the Turkmen authorities, whom they have information about and are following," said Saman, pointing out that PKK terrorists, who previously smuggled weapons and drugs and conducted human trafficking on the Iraq-Syria border, are now smuggling oil in Kirkuk.
He added that the PKK stole oil from an oil field in the west of the city and smuggled it out of Iraq.
Stating that the PKK took over some parts of the Sinjar district of Mosul, using the presence of the Daesh terrorist organization in Iraq years ago, Saman said the same terrorists are now cooperating with Daesh. Saman also noted that the PKK provides support for the Daesh attacks against the security forces near the Altunköprü district of Kirkuk from time to time.
Saman emphasized that they expect the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to play a more serious and positive role in the battle against the PKK in Iraq. Noting that the KRG has influence in Baghdad, Saman said the KRG needs to consider its political and economic relations with Turkey and engage in a serious fight against terrorists.
Turkey has continuously said it will not tolerate national security threats and called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorists.
Ankara said if the steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting the group in Iraq.
The KRG, in the meantime, has also called the PKK's presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged militants to leave the area.
The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations on PKK hideouts and bases in northern Iraq, from which they carry out attacks inside Turkey.
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 nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.