Turkey has long been engaged in an on-and-off conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) along the northern mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region. AP file photo
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish forces have made a 26-27-kilometer incursion into Iraqi territory, Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu claimed on Saturday.
“Now our children are 26-27 kilometers ahead in northern Iraq … We used to say: ‘We would go to Qandil in this or that way.’ Now we are saying: ‘We are almost in Qandil. Do not worry.’ We will not leave it for traitors,” Soylu told AKP supporters after attending a collective noon prayer.
On Friday, Turkey’s Haberturk TV broadcast images of Turkish forces in Barmiza, a Kurdish village in Bradost located on Kurdistan Region-Turkey border. The channel said Turkish forces distributed 200 kilograms of aid.
Images show Turkish soldiers having friendly discussions with villagers and taking photos with them. According to one video, soldiers and villagers are sharing Iftar meals together.
Turkey has long said it is prepared to attack bases and positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Yezidi area of Shingal, west of Mosul, and also in the Qandil mountains located on the border between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region.
The PKK is an armed group fighting for the rights of Kurds in Turkey but is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, the United States and the European Union.
Although Baghdad and Erbil have called on the PKK to leave Iraqi territory, Turkish incursions into the north of the country have caused tensions with Ankara.
The Coalition for Democracy and Justice (CDJ) released a statement on Saturday condemning the Turkish incursion.
“Iraq and the Kurdistan Region’s sovereignty should be respected, and forces from other countries should not be permitted to enter the region,” CDJ spokesman Rebwar Mahmmud told the party’s media outlet Xendan on Saturday.
“Turkish army’s incursion into the Kurdistan Region’s territory is violation of international laws, as well as Iraq and the Kurdistan Rregion’s sovereignty. We call on the Iraqi government and the KRG to work together in order to put a limit to breaking Kurdistan’s sovereignty,” he added.
Xendan also said thirteen lawmakers from the Kurdistan Region Parliament have called for a special parliamentary session to condemn the Turkish incursion.
Last updated 10.38 P.M.