Turkey says supports Iraqi agreement to remove PKK from Sinjar

Turkey said on Sunday it supports an agreement signed between Iraq’s central government in Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) that envisages clearing the country’s Sinjar district of all non-official armed groups including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We're following developments closely,” the Turkish Defence Ministry said in a weekly press release.

The PKK, a militant group designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, established a foothold in Sinjar in 2014, stating that it was protecting the local Yazidi community from the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

On Thursday, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command announced that the district was clear of all "armed manifestations" as part of the deal made between Baghdad and the KRG in October, Iraq-based news website Kurdistan 24 reported.

Turkey launched a cross-border military campaign into northern Iraq in June, targeting the PKK in various regions in response to an increase in attacks against Turkish military forces. The PKK which has been fighting an armed insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said on Sunday that the military had neutralised 58 “terrorists” in 28 operations carried out at home and across its borders in the past month.

Turkish authorities use the term "neutralised" to imply the people in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.