Turkey vows to continue anti-terror operations in northern Iraq

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 13, 2020 at 5:17 PM

ANKARA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Turkey will continue its cross-border operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq if Baghdad "continues to tolerate the group's presence in its territory," the Turkish foreign ministry said on Thursday.

"Our country is ready to cooperate with Iraq on this issue. However, if the PKK presence in Iraq is tolerated, our country is determined to take the measures it deems necessary for its border security no matter where it may be," the ministry said in a written statement.

"The PKK also challenges sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and stability of Iraq," said the statement, noting Turkey is ready to cooperate with Iraq on the issue.

The Turkish Armed Forces carry out cross-border operations in northern Iraq, a region where PKK members have hideouts.

The Iraqi army said two border guard battalion commanders and the driver of their vehicle were killed in a "blatant Turkish drone attack" in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq.

Iraq canceled a ministerial visit and summoned Turkey's ambassador on Wednesday.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.