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.