Turkey will extend all possible support to Iraq in efforts to eliminate the PKK terror group, the country’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
“We have always defended Iraq’s territorial and political integrity and will continue to do so,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a joint news conference with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in the capital Ankara.
Recalling how Turkey supported Baghdad’s fight against Daesh/ISIS, he stressed that Ankara wants to see Iraq purged of all terrorists.
"We do not want Iraq to be a conflict zone between various parties or countries," he added, mentioning the importance of the region's stability.
On the PKK’s recent attacks in Iraq and Syria, Cavusoglu said the terror group’s assaults on the Kurdish population in the two countries prove that it is “an enemy of Kurds.”
"The PKK terrorist organization does not represent the Kurds and above all [it is] the enemy of the Kurds. They attack all Kurds in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq who do not obey them. This is why they attacked the Kurds in northern Iraq recently," he noted.
Cavusoglu went on to say that PKK and YPG which are the same, is a terror group which attack everyone regardless of they are Aramis, Ezidis, Arabs, Sunni or Shia.
There has been a consensus in Iraq recently against the PKK terror group, Cavusoglu said, adding that implementation of the Sinjar deal to clear PKK terrorists from Sinjar is important for Iraq's future.
Iraqi security forces started to implement a deployment plan on Dec. 1 in the center of the Sinjar district of the Nineveh province in an effort to enhance stability and security in the area and enable displaced locals to return to their homes.
The Sinjar deal, inked under the auspices of the UN on the status of the region, envisages clearing the region of the PKK terrorists.
The PKK terror organization managed to establish a foothold in Sinjar in 2014 under the pretext of protecting the Ezidi community from Daesh/ISIS terrorists.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
Trade volume expands despite COVID-19
On his part, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said the two diplomats had a detailed meeting and discussed bilateral relations, regional issues as well as trade volume between Turkey and Iraq.
"Trade volume of the two countries did not decline, but increased. In 2019, the bilateral trade volume was $15.8B, while this year it is nearly $17 billion," he stressed.
Hussein added that they also evaluated the visa issue between Turkey and Iraq -- where there was visa-free access once, but halted since the beginning of Daesh/ISIS threats -- as this affects social and trade relations.
"We are always working for the stability of Syria. We want the security there to be maintained, because everything that happens in Syria directly affects Iraq," he said.
"That is why we wanted Iraq to take part in the Syria meetings," he added.
He also said Iraq welcomed Karabakh deal -- a Russia-brokered Nov. 10 agreement which ended Armenia's occupation of seven Azerbaijani regions adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh -- as "a milestone".
Iraq would be very pleased to see Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Iraq, he concluded.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.