Turkish PM rules out military offensives against PKK fighters without Iraqi approval

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (left) and his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi (right)

Baghdad ( – Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has stressed that his country has no plan to carry out any military operation against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters in Iraq without obtaining the approval of the Iraqi government first.

Yıldırım made the remakes in a phone call with his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi, the latter’s media office said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Alghad Press Tuesday.

In the phone conversation, Yıldırım denied news that Turkey plans to strike Iraqi cities to hunt for PKK elements, stressing that the approval of the federal government in Iraq is necessary to carry out military operations.

“Turkey respects Iraq’s sovereignty and will never commit any violation on its territories,” Yıldırım reiterated.

He also congratulated Iraqi forces on the great victory over the Islamic State (IS) group, saying that this triumph was necessary to maintain Iraqi’s unity.

Yıldırım also praised “Abadi’s positive decisions to open Erbil and Sulaymaniyah airports in the Kurdistan region and to pay salaries of the Kurdish people.”

Abadi, meanwhile, stressed that Iraq will not allow any party to attack Turkey from Iraqi territories.

“Iraqi security forces are now assuming control of all Iraqi cities,” he said, revealing that he gave directives to Iraqi troops to tighten their grip on Iraqi borders to prevent any foreign troops from infiltrating into Iraq.

The two premiers also discussed issues of mutual concern, as well as means of boosting bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, electricity and trade.

Last week, Erdogan had vowed a strong action against the Kurdistan Workers Party to deter it from creating a new base in Sinjar, stressing that Turkish forces would attack if necessary.

Sources in northern Iraq said on Friday the PKK would withdraw from Sinjar following the Turkish threat to attack the area. The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

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