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News ID: 89859
Publish Date : 04 May 2021 - 21:33
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BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraq summoned Turkey’s envoy in Baghdad to protest the visit by its defense chief to a military base in northern Iraq as Turkish troops continue a cross-border offensive against Kurdish militants there.
The Iraqi foreign ministry said in a statement it handed the Turkish charge d’affaires "a protest note” over "violations of Iraqi sovereignty” by defense minister Hulusi Akar’s trip to the Turkish facility.
"The Iraqi government expresses its strong dissatisfaction and condemnation regarding the presence of Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Iraqi territories without coordination or prior approval by competent authorities, and his meeting with Turkish forces who are illegally present in the region,” Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Nizar al-Khairallah said in the statement, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported.
Akar visited the Turkish base in northern Iraq on Saturday – accompanied by Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Guler and Turkish Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar – to supervise military operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) armed group.
The ministry also denounced Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu’s statements about establishing a permanent Turkish military base in northern Iraq.
According to the statement quoted by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish diplomat was told Baghdad "categorically rejects the continuing violations of Iraqi sovereignty … by the Turkish military forces”.
Baghdad has protested Turkey’s military operations on its soil various times in the past.
Turkish military forces launched operations on April 23 in northern Iraq’s Metina and Avasin-Basyan regions in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group.
Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.
A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.
More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.
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