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    Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during an Iftar, the evening meal breaking the Ramadan fast, at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, May 19, 2018

    Erdogan Vows to Strike Iraq if Government Can't Clear Kurdish Militants

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    Turkish forces will attack areas in Iraq if the government in Baghdad is unable to "clear" them of armed Kurdish groups, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with CNN Turk Thursday.

    Qandil, Sinjar, and Makhmur will be targeted by Turkish forces should Baghdad not rid them of Kurdish forces, Erdogan said. 

    On Thursday, polling group Gezici said that Erdogan is unlikely to attain a first-round win in Turkey's upcoming elections and that the president's AKP Party is projected to lose its majority in Parliament when Turks go to vote on June 24. In April, the Turkish leader called for snap elections in order to expand the authority of the Turkish executive branch. 

    Erdogan also said that Turkey's "state of emergency," which was declared after an attempted coup in 2016, may be revoked after Turkish citizens go to vote later in June. 

    Despite a 15-year reign in the Turkish Parliament, the pollster said that the AKP Party and its allied nationalist MHP only have 48.7 percent support, which would end the majority rule by Erdogan's party and its domestic allies. 

    The Turkish military has previously conducted operations against Kurdish forces in Syria and in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, officially known in the Iraqi constitution as the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

    Al Monitor reports that threats by Turkish officials to strike Kurdish militants arrive in "the midst of a heated election campaign dominated by nationalist bluster, raising questions about Ankara's motive." 

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    Kurds, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Erdogan, Turkey, Iraq
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