Clearing Sinjar of PKK crucial for Ankara, Baghdad

Published 11.04.2019 00:07

Ankara called on Baghdad yesterday to clear PKK terrorists from the Sinjar region to ensure the security of both countries and strengthen the territorial integrity of Iraq.

"Iraq's full authority and control over Sinjar is not only significant for Turkey but also for Iraq's territorial integrity, safety and stability," Turkey's Ambassador to Baghdad Fatih Yıldız told Anadolu Agency (AA) in Iraq's western Mosul province.

Yıldız underscored that Turkey is ready to provide cooperation and support to Iraqi authorities to prevent Sinjar from turning into another Qandil, referring to the PKK headquarters in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq.

Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terror threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara has also previously underlined that if the expected steps are not taken, it will not shy away from targeting terror threats, particularly in Sinjar.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) regularly conduct cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey. 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. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established ground in Sinjar as a new base for its logistical and command-and-control activities. Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) previously said that the PKK's presence in Sinjar is unacceptable and called for the militants to leave the area.

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. The terrorist organization isn't just active in Turkey but operates throughout the region, particularly in Syria and Iraq.

During his visit, Yıldız also met with the Turkish Naval Forces' diver team that participated in search operations in the aftermath of the ferry disaster on the Tigris River. In the incident, nearly 100 people lost their lives.

The ambassador underlined that Turkey exerted efforts to provide support to Mosul regarding the incident. He added that Turkey and Mosul have strong historical and cultural ties. In relation to Turkey's efforts to open an embassy in Mosul, Yıldız said that Turkey's expectations regarding the issue would be conveyed to local authorities in Mosul as well as to Baghdad.

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