FM: Iraq categorically rejects Turkish military action at north

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari

Baghdad ( Iraq categorically rejects any Turkish military action on its soil, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Wednesday, hours after reports said Iraq approved operations by Ankara against separatist Kurds in its north.

A statement by the foreign minister’s website said Jaafari, meeting with Deputy Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Yildiz, stressed that “Iraq rejects any military action on its soil by any neighboring country”.

He added that “while we are anxious to maintain the depth of Iraqi-Turkish relations, we categorically reject any breach of the Iraqi borders by Turkish forces”.

Meeting with Iraqi Justice Minister Haider al-Zamili in Baghdad, on Tuesday, Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Fateh Yildiz, said Ankara started to launch military operations on its borders with Iraq “to purge the borders from terrorist pockets in collaboration with the Iraqi government”, as quoted by a statement by the Iraqi justice ministry.

“Turkey is prepared to cooperate with the Iraqi government in the field of counter-terrorism and entrenching the sovereignty of both countries,” the statement quoted Yildiz saying.

On his side, the Iraqi minister said “Iraq has shown good intentions in Turkish demands related to the security on joint borders”, adding that “the political and security situation requires new agreements”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara on Monday his country would, at any time, launch operations in Iraq’s northern Sinjar region against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group designated by Ankara as a terrorist group for engaging in decades of armed confrontations with it.

Turkey has also been carrying out offensives since January against Kurdish factions in Afrin, northwest of Syria.

It has regularly conducted airstrikes against PKK locations in norther Iraq.


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