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Türkiye, Iraq Conduct Talks for Security Pact on Shared Concerns



Türkiye and Iraq are currently engaged in dialogue to sign a security pact, most likely against terrorist groups like the PKK, according to Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani.

“As two neighbors sharing deep historic relations, we are in contact with Türkiye to find concrete mechanisms to combat security issues,” Al Sudani told Russian news agency Sputnik ahead of his visit to Moscow, Iraq’s official Es-Sabah reported Tuesday.

Baghdad inked a similar security agreement with Iran in March this year, which saw the disarming and moving away from their border of Iranian Kurdish opposition groups on Sept. 19.

Terrorist groups like the PKK and Daesh are active in a large chunk of Iraq’s northern region, along the country’s border with Türkiye. Ankara maintains dozens of military bases there and it regularly launches operations against the PKK, which maintains a stronghold in the Qandil Mountains, located roughly 40 kilometers southeast of the Turkish border in the Irbil province, although the area is under de jure control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

In the last few years, intensifying operations in the region have demolished terrorist lairs in Metina, Avashin-Basyan, Zap and Gara districts but Baghdad is yet to officially recognize the PKK as a terrorist group and Turkish strikes remain a prickling issue between the neighbors.

Last month, Baghdad blamed Turkish strikes for an explosion at Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah, which was later understood to be due to a training exercise between the PKK and its local affiliate PUK.

Turkish officials have repeatedly urged Iraq, as well as the KRG, to recognize the PKK, stressing that the group, which occupies Sinjar, Makhmour, Qandil and Sulaymaniyah, threatens the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.

Ankara has also expressed readiness to collaborate with Baghdad against both the PKK and Daesh.

“We cannot accept the PKK challenging the sovereignty of Iraq,” Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told a news conference in August with his Iraqi counterpart.

Stressing that the territorial integrity, political unity and sovereignty of Iraq are one of Türkiye’s priorities, Fidan said: “We must not allow the PKK terrorist organization, which is a common enemy of Türkiye and Iraq, to poison our bilateral relations.”

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States as well as Türkiye, launched a terrorist campaign in southeast Türkiye in 1984, in which more than 40,000 people have since been killed. Türkiye also battles the YPG, the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, in northern Syria.

Turkish strikes targeting PKK/YPG hideouts in both Syria and Iraq have intensified since a terrorist attack by the PKK in the capital Ankara on Oct. 1 when one terrorist blew himself up in front of the headquarters of the Turkish National Police.

Türkiye’s military involvement in northern Iraq dates back over two decades, separately from its operations against the PKK, and also included the war against Daesh, which controlled much of the area, in 2014 and 2015, when Ankara was an ally in the U.S.-led anti-Daesh campaign. The terrorist group has been more active in Syria after a civil war broke out more than a decade ago. YPG terrorists control areas near the Syrian-Iraqi border and unconfirmed reports say they travel between the two countries secretly.

Source : Daily Sabah

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