KRG hinders PKK's provocative protest against Turkey in northern Iraq

Published 30.01.2019 01:04

The Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) prevented a planned protest by the PKK after tensions escalated over the terrorist organization's provocation on Saturday against a Turkish base in the province of Duhok.

According to local media, KRG security forces yesterday disallowed people from protesting in the Duhok governorate and took 25 protesters into custody on the grounds of disturbing peace and stability in the city.

Haci Rekani, the Duhok provincial head of the main opposition party Gorran Movement (Movement for Change) and the other seven members of the party were among the arrested individuals. Goran Group Deputy Chairman Ali Hama Salih also confirmed the media reports with a written statement, yet no announcement has been issued by KRG authorities on the matter.

In relation to the issue, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar yesterday said that Turkey welcomes the KRG's reactions and measures against the attack on the Turkish base in Iraq.

In a protest incited by PKK terrorists, demonstrators attacked the Turkish military camp near Duhok in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Saturday and burned two tanks and other vehicles, wounding 10 people. The Turkish Presidency's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Sunday that attackers linked with the PKK concealed themselves among civilians and tried to provoke them against the Turkish military.

"Precautions have been taken to prevent civilian losses near the area where the base is located," Altun said, as he urged media outlets to be careful about the terrorist group's online defamation campaign.

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani also told Altun that they have taken the necessary precautions and have launched an inquiry into the incident, voicing the regional government's opposition to the PKK presence in northern Iraq. Following the provocation, the KRG shut the office of the PKK-linked NRT TV on Sunday over its provocative broadcasting regarding Saturday's attack.

Formed in 1978, the PKK terrorist group has been fighting the Turkish government for an independent state. Its terror campaign has caused the deaths of more than 40,000 people. The PKK is an internationally recognized terrorist organization and is listed as such by the U.S., Turkey and the European Union.

Located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in Iraq's Irbil province, the Qandil mountains became the PKK's main headquarters in the 1990s after it used the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon as a training ground for many years. Northern Iraq has frequently been hit by the Turkish military since the early ‘90s due to terror threats directed by PKK terrorists from the Qandil mountains. In March 2017, the number of operations in the region escalated and the Turkish military set up bases for tanks, helicopters, and UAVs for the operations aiming to eliminate the PKK leadership.

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