Iraqi President Barham Salih said on July 8 that neighboring Turkey must suspend its recent offensive against alleged Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) positions in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and disputed territories of Iraq, describing the ongoing operations as a “military violation” on Iraqi soil.
Receiving a number of Arab countries’ ambassadors to Iraq, Salih said that Iraq maintains its sovereignty and “reiterated that Turkey has to suspend its military violations on the Iraqi soil,” Rudaw cited a statement from his office as saying.
Turkey has launched a fresh offensive against alleged PKK positions on its borders with the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and disputed areas since June 15. Air and ground forces are involved in the operations.
Iraqi top officials, including Salih, have repeatedly called on Ankara to suspend the offensive to no avail. Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, Fatih Yıldız, was summoned by Iraq’s Foreign Ministry twice. The ambassador announced later that Turkey would not be stopping its offensive.
Iraqi border guards have set up five positions in strategic areas in Duhok province’s town of Zakho near the conflict area. Local officials have told Rudaw that this has de-escalated tensions and relieved local residents.
Salih’s office denounced on June 26 “the killing of five civilians by Turkish forces and violations affecting national sovereignty as a result of the repeated Turkish military operations and its violation of Iraqi airspace, which killed a number of unarmed civilians.”
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement later in the day that the Iraqi presidency’s statement “depended on untrue claims.”
“The claims in the statement are actually used by the terrorist organization of the PKK and its supporters to defame our anti-terrorism operations. Iraqi authorities should not be tools for terrorists’ propaganda,” read the statement.