Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets the crowd during a campaign rally in Diyarbakir this week. Photo: Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s president has threatened to take his military campaign against the PKK to a refugee camp in Makhmour, describing the camp as a “breeding ground” for terrorists.
“We can hit Sinjar and Qandil… and Makhmour is very important,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with CNN Turk.
“Where do you think Qandil is fed from? From Makhmour,” he said, stressing that Turkey will take action if Iraq does not solve the problem.
Erdogan said he has also discussed this with the United Nations and the UN should “deal with Makhmour.”
Makhmour camp hosts more than 12,000 Kurdish refugees who fled Turkish state persecution mostly in the 1990’s.
The camp has a governing council. An armed force, the Makhmour Protection Units, was established in 2014 when ISIS militants attacked the area. The protection units are believed to have ties to the PKK.
Last December, an airstrike
on the camp killed three and injured seven.
Turkish forces are conducting a major operation against the PKK in the Kurdistan Region – their aim is the PKK’s Qandil Mountains headquarters.
The PKK has warned that there will be major conflict
Shingal, also known as Sinjar, is a Yezidi homeland. The PKK and Peshmerga coordinated to liberate areas from ISIS in November 2015. The PKK withdrew
from the area in March.
Turkey has threatened military action against Shingal and Erdogan in his interview with CNN Turk again said “Sinjar is a small Qandil.”