Ankara says no tolerance to PKK in Sinjar, expects Baghdad to eliminate terrorist presence

Baghdad should immediately carry out operations against the PKK in Sinjar to eliminate security threats posed to Turkey from northern Iraq Ankara says

The PKK has been training its terrorists in camps located in the Sinjar region, from which Turkey has announced it will clear off the group in an upcoming operation.
The PKK has been training its terrorists in camps located in the Sinjar region, from which Turkey has announced it will clear off the group in an upcoming operation.
As Turkey continues cross-border operations against the PKK's Syrian affiliate in northwestern Afrin, Ankara has said that it is determined to clear the PKK from Iraq's Sinjar, where the group has established itself organizationally in recent years, urging the Iraqi central government to implement an anti-PKK strategy without delay. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said yesterday that Turkey has no tolerance for the PKK's foothold in Sinjar, Iraq, that he expects Baghdad to conduct an operation against the terrorist group.
Commenting in Istanbul ahead of his departure to Varna, Bulgaria, on recent reports that the Iraqi central government took initiative regarding Sinjar in the northern Nineveh province where the PKK has a strong presence, Erdoğan said: "We hope the Iraq central government fully conducts an operation in Sinjar. If there is a problem in achieving it, we will have bilateral meetings and do what is necessary."
He said that terrorists can easily move in and out of Sinjar and that Turkey has not much tolerance for Sinjar because of its proximity to Turkey. "Turkey will immediately do what is necessary against any harassment from that region."
In a recent development, Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool said late Sunday that Iraqi troops are deployed in regions where the PKK retreated. He added that the 15th brigade of the army was deployed with heavy weapons in Sinjar and Sinun. The Fırat News Agency, known for its link to the terrorist organization, reported on Friday that the PKK is withdrawing its militants since it "reached its goal" of driving Daesh from the region.
Erdoğan also said an Iraqi official is set to visit Turkey to meet National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and discuss the recent developments. Early Tuesday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım held a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi. The officials discussed bilateral relations and fight against terror, sources said.

The PKK, which is designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and U.S., established a foothold in Sinjar in mid-2014 on the pretext that it was protecting the local Yazidi community that has been overrun by Daesh.
The local council in Mosul previously gave the PKK a 10-day ultimatum to leave Sinjar, according to the council chairman. According to intelligence sources, the PKK has moved its military resources and command-control mechanisms from the Qandil Mountains in northeastern Iraq to Sinjar in the northwest.

Ankara has been highly vocal in its criticism of the PKK's foothold in Sinjar and has been signaling that it might extend its Operation Olive Branch in Syria to northern Iraq to clear it of terrorists. In the face of growing security threats to the country, Turkey launched an operation into Afrin in northwestern Syria on Jan. 20 with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and took control of the Afrin city center from the People's Protection Units (YPG). Ankara has repeatedly said that it will not allow any terrorists to establish footholds along its borders. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been launching airstrikes on the PKK in northern Iraq.

Concerning the PKK presence in Sinjar, Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık yesterday said: "The Iraqi government has a responsibility to eliminate threats directed at Turkey's unity and national security. Turkey stands with Iraq in all of its steps that would fulfill this responsibility."

He said Turkey fully supports Iraq's territorial integrity and that it is Baghdad's duty to eliminate the PKK from Sinjar.
He said Turkey will not accept the PKK's attempts to continue its presence in Sinjar by changing its name.
Işık added that Turkey will not shy away from taking necessary steps if threats continue despite Baghdad's efforts.



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