Erdogan threatens military strike against PKK in Iraq

Turkey has been steadily attacking PKK militants in both the southeast and northern Iraq
Atalayar_ Recep Tayyip Erdogan y Hulusi Akar

PHOTO/ Servicio de prensa de la presidencia turca vía AP  -   Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks with Defence Minister Hulusi Akar

Turkey has a long history of confrontation with the Turkish population. The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has become a perennial nightmare for the Eurasian country, which has labelled the party a terrorist organisation.

The Turkish executive's tactics against the Kurds continue apace, accusing the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the country's main opposition party, of having close ties to PKK armed groups, which has led to the prosecution of thousands of its members and some of its leaders.

In its ongoing fight against the PKK, Turkey has announced that it may intervene to expel PKK militants from the Sinjar district of northern Iraq. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, during his visit to Iraq, said that the two countries plan to establish a new information exchange mechanism for the fight against the PKK.

Hulusi Akar also explained that Turkey is closely following the developments in the Iraqi district of Sinjar. "Turkey is ready to provide support to eliminate terrorists in the Sinjar region of Iraq if necessary," he said.

Meanwhile, last October, the governments in Baghdad and Erbil signed an agreement to maintain security in the Sinjar district by federal security forces, in coordination with forces from the Kurdistan region (north), to eliminate all "illegal" armed groups. This agreement also envisages ending the presence of Workers' Party fighters in Sinjar, and removing any role for entities associated with them in the region.

Atalayar_Ministro de Defensa turco Hulusi Akar
AFP/Turkish Defence Ministry Press Office - Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar 

On 21 November, Baghdad announced the start of the implementation of the agreement, with the deployment of federal forces to their locations within the district. Kurdish" militants had established a foothold for themselves in Nineveh, especially in the Sinjar district in the west of the governorate, when ISIS invaded the region in the summer of 2014, and established the so-called Sinjar Protection Units there.

Ankara has been continuously targeting PKK militants in both southeastern Iraq and northern Iraq. In June 2020, Ankara launched a ground offensive, dubbed "Operation Tiger Claw", an air and ground military offensive in northern Iraq against the PKK, whose command centre was in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.

The relationship between Turkey and Iraq has been compromised on a number of occasions by such attacks by the Eurasian country. A serious political crisis erupted last August when a Turkish airstrike targeted areas in northern Iraq, killing two senior officers and a Kurdish official.