Iraq's Sinjar will not be new PKK stronghold: Defense Minister Akar

Published 18.12.2018 11:59
Updated 18.12.2018 13:22
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Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Tuesday that northern Iraq's Sinjar region will not be allowed to become a new stronghold for the PKK terror group.

"We expect the Iraqi government to cooperate with us in ending the separatist PKK terror group's presence in Iraqi territories," Akar said during his budget speech in parliament.

Akar noted that Turkey respects the territorial integrity of Syria, Iraq and its neighbors.

"However, for the security of the country and the nation, our operations will continue until the PKK terror group has been completely defeated in the locations they exist in Iraq," he said.

Sinjar "will never be allowed to become a new (Mt.) Qandil."

The terrorist PKK has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region, which is located near the Turkish border.

On Thursday, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) dealt a heavy blow to the PKK terror group in the Sinjar and Mt. Karajak regions.

Akar also recalled the U.S.'s promise to remove the PKK's Syrian affilitate People's Protection Units (YPG) from Syria's Manbij region.

"However, we have determined that the terror group has dug trenches in Manbij," he said.

"When the time comes, the terrorists in this region will be buried in the trenches they have dug," he stressed.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

Akar also provided data on the number of Turkish armed forces personnel dismissed since the 2016 defeated coup attempt.

"Since July 15, (2016) due to (Gülenist Terror Group) FETÖ, a total of 15,154 personnel, including 150 generals and admirals and 7,595 officers, have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces," he noted.

FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fethullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

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