Turkish tanks deployed to stop PKK in northern Iraq

The Mosul operation which was launched to liberate Iraq's second largest city from Daesh has resulted in the PKK moving into Sinjar.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey previously warned the governments in Baghdad and Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, as well US-led coalition officials about the danger PKK poses and allowing the group to establish a foothold in the region.

Tukey’s deployment of tanks and armoured vehicles in the country’s southeastern town Silopi aims to prevent the PKK from securing a base in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

The comments come as a coalition made up of US, Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are in an operation to topple Daesh from its last stronghold in Mosul, Iraq.

Turkey previously warned both the Iraqi central government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish in Erbil, as well US-led coalition officials, about the danger the PKK poses if they are allowed to establish a foothold in the region, he added.

“We have taken our measures especially against the PKK, which is trying to turn Sinjar, under the guise of protecting Yazidis, into Qandil,” he said, referring to the PKK’s main base on the Iraq-Iran border.

“One of the purposes of sending a certain number of troops and our armed forces lately is this. We will never allow such things. We will not."

Sinjar, which is heavily populated by the Yazidi people, lies 110 kilometres west of Mosul and around 100 kilometres southwest of the Turkish border.

The PKK are listed as a terror group by Turkey the United States and the European Union.

If Daesh is forced out of Mosul and head to their de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, the route they are expected to use goes through Tal Afar, which lies between Sinjar and Mosul.

Turkey's aim is to "take the camp into the coalition and work with Iraq," said Cavusoglu, referring to an army camp in Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, where Turkish advisers and troops have been training Kurdish and Iraqi fighters against Daesh.

Turkey would not wait behind its borders if PKK moved into Sinjar, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said last week.