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KDP says PKK should move activities to ‘true battlefield,’ spare Kurdistan Region Turkish attacks

2020-06-20

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SULAIMANI — The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) released a statement on Saturday (June 20) saying that it was concerned about cross-border military operations by both Turkey and Iran in the Kurdistan Region over the past week and blamed hostilities on the presence of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Iranian Kurdish opposition groups.

“This matter is not new and has been repeated in recent years. Every now and then, we have talked to the relevant parties in these two countries [Turkey and Iran] and expressed our concerns,” the KDP said.

“They stressed that they have no opposition to the Region and that the reason for the bombings is the presence of the Kurdish opposition armed forces that are carrying out military operations against Iran and Turkey from within the territories of the Kurdistan Region,” it added.

Starting on Monday, Turkey launched a series of airstrikes on targets in the Kurdistan Region and northern Iraq, including the PKK’s headquarters in Qandil and others near displacement camps in Makhmour and Mount Sinjar. It has continued daily airstrikes since then and engaged in ground operations in northern Duhok governorate on Wednesday.

Iran joined in by shelling targets near Haji Omaran on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Four civilians were killed in a Turkish airstrike near Shiladze in Duhok governorate on Friday afternoon and a shepherd was killed on Wednesday night in northern Erbil governorate in a separate airstrike by Turkey.

In its statement, the KDP placed blame for the hostilities squarely on the PKK, saying if it was opposed to Ankara’s actions in southeastern Turkey then it should send its fighters there.

“The PKK now controls about five hundred villages in the Kurdistan Region and we have ignored it, but, if this situation continues, the bombings will cause more damage [along the border] and endanger the other parts of the Region,” it said.

“We are in favor of political struggle and peaceful means of resolving the Kurdish issue in other parts [of the country], and if PKK and the other armed forces cannot abide by the decisions and rules of the Kurdistan Region, let them move their wars and activities to their true battlefield and no longer pose a threat to the citizens of the Kurdistan Region.”

Late on Friday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) broke its silence on the attacks and said that it wants Turkey to respect the sovereignty of the Kurdistan Region, but also that the PKK should leave the Region.

On Thursday, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) Political Bureau released a statement demanding that the federal government preserve the sovereignty of Iraq and take urgent steps to protect the lives of civilians.

Iraq has officially condemned the operations, summoning the Turkish ambassador twice in three days last week.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the KDP have extensive political and economic ties with Turkey, leading to criticism that their responses have been tempered by those links, despite the violations of sovereignty and the deaths of civilians.

(NRT Digital Media)