Turkey has expressed its readiness to launch a ground operation against PKK militants in the Iraqi district of Sinjar, but an official from Iraq’s State of Law coalition warned that such an operation would be a violation of the country’s sovereignty and would warrant a response by Iraqi forces.
Abbas al-Bayati from the aforementioned coalition made the comments in an exclusive interview with Baghdad Today and warned that the presence of Turkish ground troops on Iraqi soil would be a breach of international law.
“Turkey cannot cross into Iraqi territories as our country enjoys sovereignty and independence,” the coalition member said on Wednesday.
He also highlighted that there are no reports of “any Turkish penetration into Iraqi territories.”
Iraqi forces have been conducting their own military operation in the Sinjar region to oust PKK militants from the area, which is close to the Iraq-Turkey border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously said that “Turkey will do what is necessary” if Iraqi forces fail to clear the area, but Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım clarified today that Turkish forces would only mount a ground operation with prior approval from Baghdad.
“Turkey respects Iraq’s sovereignty and will never commit any violation on its territories,” PM Yıldırım said in a phone call with Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi on Wednesday.
The PKK has fought a bloody war against Turkish forces for over three decades, with the group’s hardline tactics drawing international condemnation. Fighting has largely concentrated in the country’s southeast, which has a large Kurdish community who are seeking independence or autonomy.