Turkey states willingness to cooperate with Iraq on ‘PKK presence in Kirkuk’

Turkey states willingness to cooperate with Iraq on ‘PKK presence in Kirkuk’

Turkey says it’s ready to cooperate with the central Iraqi government against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Kirkuk.

Ankara also warned the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) “not to provide shelter to the terrorist organization” in that region.

“We once again emphasize the importance we attach to the protection of Iraq’s political unity and territorial integrity. We also underline our readiness for any kind of cooperation with the Iraqi government on the termination of the PKK presence in Iraqi territories”, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement today.

These developments come after the offensive launched by the Iraqi government launched against the KRG’s positions in and around the oil-rich city of Kirkurk, which has resulted in the KRG Peshmerga forces abandoning a number of key locations in the province.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said it was closely following the Iraqi government’s moves for the “establishment of the constitutional order in Kirkuk”, which has a large Turkmen population, while also urged the KRG “not to make another mistake” by allowing the PKK presence in the region.

“We welcome the Iraqi government’s statement that no tolerance will be shown to PKK members in Kirkuk and that the mobilization of these groups will be considered an act of war… Turkey will stand with the Iraqi government in its steps that aim to establish lasting peace and stability in the country”, said the statement.