Turkey urges Barzani to withhold support for Iraqi-peshmerga force - Iraqi press

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has urged Massoud Barzani, the leader of the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Iraq, to withhold support for a force comprised of Iraqi and Kurdish peshmerga forces.

Çavuşoğlu, in a letter he penned to Barzani, asked Barzani not to extend any support to Iraqi and peshmerga forces along the Iraqi-Turkish border,  Turkish news site Medya Haber quoted Iraq-based Peyser Press as saying on Saturday.

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for autonomy for Turkey's mainly Kurdish south-east since 1984, have used the remote mountainous areas along the Iraq-Turkey border as a base to stage attacks on Turkish forces. Turkey has responded by carrying out cross-border air and artillery strikes and ground raids.

Iraqi and Kurdish militia would effectively prevent Turkish forces from moving freely along the borders of Iraq and Turkey, the site quoted the letter as saying.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq controls all of Iraq's border with Turkey.

The report arrives as Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish a joint operation centre to manage tensions between U.S.-backed Kurdish militia and Turkish forces in northern Syria.

The letter also called on the KRG to ignore calls by the United States for the unification of peshmerga forces, it said. 

Ankara and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), despite a turbulent history, currently maintain economic cooperation over gas, oil and other resources.

The President of the KRG, Nechirvan Barzani, in June came to Turkey, where he was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.