"We reject Iraq being an arena to threaten neighboring countries," Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi stated Sunday, underlining that the PKK terrorist organization threatening Turkey is unacceptable.
Kadhimi stated that the terrorist organization is disrupting and endangering the lives of locals, especially in the border areas where there is ongoing conflict between Turkey and the PKK.
“The actions of the PKK endanger the population of the Kurdistan region.”
Previously, security sources told Daily Sabah that the terrorist group threatens the lives of civilians mainly through improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mines planted by the PKK and its offshoots in northern Iraq.
“We have good relations with Turkey,” Kadhimi stated, according to a written statement from the prime minister's office. “We are working to extend the influence of the Iraqi forces over some areas that were under the control of some armed groups. We are working with Turkey and have similar points of view.”
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar last week spoke over the phone with his Iraqi counterpart Juma Anad.
The two exchanged views on bilateral and regional defense and security issues, according to a statement by the Defense Ministry.
“We respect the territorial integrity, borders and sovereignty of all our neighbors, especially Iraq, and no one should doubt this,” Akar said.
Akar noted that Turkey's struggle is against terrorism and terrorists, saying it aims to eradicate terrorists who have nested in northern Iraq, killed 40,000 people and committed crimes against humanity.
Turkey launched Operations Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions near its borders.
The call came after Iraq's Foreign Ministry summoned the top Turkish diplomatic representative in the country's capital, Baghdad, to express their concern over Akar's visit to troops at a military base in northern Iraq.
Akar visited a Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) military base in northern Iraq accompanied by Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and Turkish Land Forces Commander Ümit Dündar to supervise the Turkish military operations against the PKK terrorist group.
The TSK regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq. Turkey has long been stressing 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.
Within this scope, the TSK and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in a coordinated effort killed eight PKK terrorists in northern Iraq’s Gara, according to the Defense Ministry’s statement on Sunday.
The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than four decades and has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.