Turkey Not Violating Iraq's Territorial Integrity, Anti-PKK Operation Aimed to Defend Border - FM

© Sputnik / Fuad SafarovTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.04.2022
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey has no intentions to infringe on Iraq's territorial integrity, and the recently launched anti-terrorist operation is aimed only at ensuring Turkey's border security, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Turkey initiated a cross-border anti-terrorist operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, saying the PKK formations were planning a large-scale offensive. Ankara dispatched 42 task forces, consisting of 654 soldiers, to identify and neutralize PKK militants in the border regions. Iraqi presidential office stated that the Turkish operation undermines the country's national security.
"Why doesn't the Iraqi side worry about PKK terrorists on its territory? We are not violating the territorial integrity of Iraq; we have no such intentions. We will ensure the security of our borders, the security of our citizens, we will fight terror," Cavusoglu told a briefing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Monday that Turkey remains committed to fighting PKK "until terrorism ceases to be a threat to the country, region, and all of humanity." As of Tuesday, 26 PKK militants were killed in northern Iraq, with the operation still ongoing, according to the defense ministry.
On Tuesday, Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit condemned Turkey's military operation against Kurdish groups, pointing out that Ankara's military activity would exacerbate tensions in its relations with Baghdad.
The military conflict between Turkey and PKK began in 1984 and entered one of its deadliest phases in 2015. PKK military bases are located in the northern part of Iraq and are targeted by the Turkish armed forces. Erdogan said earlier that since July 2015, 6,000 PKK members have been killed in Turkey and 6,900 outside the country's borders. Turkey has lost more than 1,200 military personnel in this confrontation.
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