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Rudaw

Iraq

Yezidi MP calls on Iraqi parliament to prevent Turkish operation in Shingal

By Rudaw 22/3/2018
The Yezidi area of Shingal has already been ravaged by genocide at the hands of ISIS, which  slaughtered and enslaved thousands of Yazidis when its fighters seized  the territory in 2014. File photo: AFP
The Yezidi area of Shingal has already been ravaged by genocide at the hands of ISIS, which slaughtered and enslaved thousands of Yazidis when its fighters seized the territory in 2014. File photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Vian Dakhil, the Iraqi parliament’s only  Yezidi MP, said she will call for an “extraordinary” session in the  legislature to oppose Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threat  to launch military action against Kurdish fighters in the Yezidi area  of Shingal, west of Mosul.

Speaking to Radio Sawa, Dakhil said she would ask the Iraqi parliament  to “commit” the Iraqi government to protecting the sovereignty of Iraq.

She claimed that a number of Yezidi families from Shingal have already  fled to safer areas, and said she expects many more will follow. The  area has already been ravaged by genocide at the hands of ISIS, which  slaughtered and enslaved thousands of Yazidis when its fighters seized  the territory in 2014.

Speaking in Ankara on Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut  Cavusoglu said President Erdogan is serious about launching a military  operation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Shingal and  the Qandil mountains on the border between Turkey and the Kurdistan  Region. However, he insisted Turkey would not take “unilateral” steps  and would instead seek the cooperation of the Iraqi government.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on Tuesday that Iraq  strongly rejects any Turkish operation inside its territory.

Dakhil said she had conveyed her concerns to the US government through  US Consul General in Erbil Ken Gross, asking the Trump administration  to protect civilians.

The current Iraqi stance “will not stop” the Turkish state from  conducting military operations in Shingal, Dakhil said, pointing out  that Ankara has continued to bomb the area despite opposition from the  Iraqi government.

The parliamentary bloc of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)  called on the Iraqi government to condemn the Turkish airstrikes  against Kurdish villages in the Kurdistan Region that killed four  civilians on Thursday.

It also called on the Turkish government to compensate the human and  material losses caused by the airstrikes.

The PUK’s politburo office issued a strongly-worded statement against  “aerial terror” by the Turkish state inside the Kurdistan Region,  saying the four people killed in the strikes are PUK members who  happened to be in the area to celebrate Newroz.

There are no armed activities in the area targeted by the Turkish  military, the PUK said.

The Turkish state must stop the “aerial terror against the civilian  population,” the statement added.

The PKK is an armed group fighting for the rights of Kurds in Turkey,  but is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara. The group has  its headquarters in Kurdistan Regions’ Qandil mountains.

FM Cavusoglu did not hide the fact that Ankara is concerned about what he described as “direct coordination” between the PKK and the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in Sulaimani province.

Relations between the PUK and Turkey entered a strained stage when the PKK arrested two Turkish intelligence agents last August in Sulaimani, a PUK stronghold. Ankara then expelled the PUK’s representative from Turkey over the issue. 

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