Ankara, Tehran to conduct joint operation against PKK - Turkish interior minister

Turkey and Iran will conduct joint operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Wednesday in an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency.

Soylu did not provide any details about the joint operation against the PKK, which has been fighting inside Turkey for more than 30 years and has headquarters in northern Iraq shared with its Iran affiliate, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK).

Turkey also sees the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG), Kurdish militia fighting inside Syria against the Islamic State (ISIS) controlling some pockets in northeast parts of the country along the Turkish border, as the Syrian extension of the PKK.

The Turkish interior minister also said that he expected the People’s Alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to receive more than 50 percent of the votes in local elections on March 31.

Almost 60-65 percent of the population in the southeastern provinces in Turkey were happy with mayors appointed by the Turkish government to replace mayors elected in 2014 from the dominantly-Kurdish Democratic Peoples Party (HDP) over alleged terror links to PKK, Soylu said.

According to the Turkish interior minister, the alliance between opposition parties, formally the one between the securing Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the nationalist Good (İYİ) Party, but to which he adds the PKK and the HDP, wins the polls on March 31, there will be devastating results for the country, including severe problems in domestic security.

“God forbid, if in the evening of March 31 the results weaken the government and the People’s Alliance, then the governors and district governors in southeast and east Turkey will be mocked by 6-year old children,” Soylu said.