Mar 29 2018

Turkey to send troops into Sinjar if Iraq does not act against PKK

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Iraq’s government had promised to take military action against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants in the northwestern Iraqi district of Sinjar and said if it did not, Turkish troops would carry out an operation in the area, the Turkish pro-government Sabah newspaper said.

Iraq’s military said on Sunday it had taken control of Sinjar after the PKK, which has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey since 1984, pulled out of the area. But a local Yezidi militia set up by the PKK remains in the district though now under Iraqi government control.

“The Iraqi government sent us a message. They said they are conducting the necessary military action in Sinjar. If terrorists are removed from there, then it is ok. Otherwise, we will carry out a military operation,” Sabah quoted Erdoğan as saying. “If we are to go there, we will go one night, all of a sudden. It is not reasonable to wake the enemy by providing a calendar or a route map.”

The PKK moved into the Sinjar area to save thousands of adherents of the minority Yezidi faith who had fled massacres carried out against their co-religionists by Islamic State in August 2014 after Iraqi Kurdish forces pulled out without a fight.

Turkey believes the PKK intends to set up a base in Sinjar from which to launch cross-border attacks.