“One of the issues we have discussed with Iraq is a joint operation against the PKK’s presence in Sinjar governorate.
They told us ‘PKK is no different from ISIS, let’s cooperate against this threat,’” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on his return from his one-day visit to Baghdad late Jan.
Cavusoglu held talks with Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and other senior Iraqi officials, as the Turkish army carries out Operation Olive Branch against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.
The YPG is the offshoot of the PKK and is therefore considered a terrorist organization by Turkey.
The PKK has its main headquarters in northern Iraq but recently intensified its presence along the Iraqi-Syria border in order to strengthen YPG positions in northern Syria.
The YPG is now controlling around a quarter of Syrian territories as a result of its cooperation with the United States in the fight against ISIS.
The PKK’s control of Sinjar helps increase the YPG’s influence along the border.
“Furthermore, [Iraqi officials] told us that they will secure control and security of the Syrian border along the Sinjar region and that they will completely stop PKK-YPG infiltration,” Cavusoglu said.
“And we told them that we’ll grant them all the necessary support in their efforts and that we altogether can do our best to clean Iraq from all terrorists.”
“Whether Afrin, Manbij, northern Iraq or the east of the Euphrates [river in Syria], wherever the terrorists are situated and are posing threats is our target,” the Turkish foreign minister added.
Last Modified: 01 23 2018 01:19 PM
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