KRG discomfort over PKK presence in northern Iraq increases

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 31.01.2019 00:07

Reactions from the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are snowballing against the PKK's terrorist activities in northern Iraq that have been disrupting stability and peace in the region.

Viyan Sabri, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the Iraqi parliament said on Tuesday that the PKK is responsible for the destruction of the hundreds of villages in the country.

Speaking at a press conference held in the capital Baghdad, Sabri called on the terrorist organization to leave the KRG's soil immediately, underlining peace and stability across the country is undermined due to the presence of the PKK.

"The existence of the PKK has left negative political, economic and social effects on the people of the region," Sabri said. "For years hundreds of villages have been abandoned and demolished due to PKK activities."

Sabri added that they do not consent "any organism to use the soil of Iraq or the KRG which threaten the security of neighboring countries."

KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani also often expresses determination to prevent PKK terrorist attacks, which pose a direct threat to Turkey's national security. Barzani said that the KRG does not approve the use of its territory to carry out cross-border attacks on neighboring countries.

On Saturday, the KRG prevented a planned protest by the PKK after tensions escalated over the terrorist organization's provocation against a Turkish base in the province of Duhok.

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

Another reaction from the KRG against the PKK's presence voiced by Ali Bapir, the head of the Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG), who stated the organization, should not be stationed in the northwestern Sinjar province.

In mid-2014, the PKK managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh. Ankara has been highly vocal in its criticism of the PKK's presence in Sinjar, as the terrorists' position on the Turkish border poses a significant threat to the country.

Speaking on the PKK's presence, Turkey's ambassador in Baghdad Fatih Yıldız told Daily Sabah yesterday that Ankara wants the fight against the PKK to be carried out in line with the current perspective by the KRG and Iraqi central government in Baghdad.

The Turkish envoy added that the KRG's statements set forth the underlying reasons behind the PKK's presence and activities, adding Turkey's engagement and operations across the border are actually aimed at ending it.

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.

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