Barzani calls on PKK to withdraw from Iraq’s KRG

Masoud Barzani, the former president of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq on Monday called on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to leave the region to prevent further escalation with Turkey, pro-Kurdish outlet Kurdistan24 reported.

Turkey on June 17 launched Operation Claw-Tiger, a cross-border ground assault targeting the PKK in various regions of northern Iraq in response to an increase in attacks against Turkish military forces. Turkey regularly targets the PKK in operations in northern Iraq, home to the group’s headquarters, and on home soil.

The PKK has disregarded repeated calls by KRG authorities to leave these areas, Rudaw said, citing Barzani as calling for the group to take "normalizing the situation."

“Our peaceful position should not be used to challenge the legal authority of the Kurdistan Region, and try to impose their will illegally and by force of arms on the people of Kurdistan," Barzani added.

The PKK, designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish state for four decades.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, including 7,918 members of Turkey’s security forces, 5,557 civilians and 22,101 PKK members between 1981 and 2012, according to a report by Turkish parliament.