Turkey summons Iranian envoy over remarks on Iraq operations

Iranian Envoy to Ankara Mohammad Farazmand has been summoned on Sunday to the Turkish foreign ministry over recent remarks on Turkey’s cross-border operations against PKK terrorists in northern Iraq.

Turkey expects Iran to support, not oppose, Ankara’s fight against terrorism, the foreign ministry told the summoned Iranian envoy.

The incident has taken place after Iran’s envoy to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi criticized Turkey’s operations in Iraq in an interview with Rudaw on Saturday.

“We reject military intervention in Iraq and Turkish forces should not pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil,” Masjedi said and added: “The security of the Iraqi area should be maintained by Iraqi forces and (Kurdistan) Region forces in their area.”

“We do not accept at all, be it Turkey or any other country to intervene in Iraq militarily or advance or have a military presence in Iraq,” Masjedi continued.

PKK terrorists recently executed 13 Turkish citizens in a cave in northern Iraq after abducting them, shooting most of them in the head.

The PKK managed to establish a foothold in Iraq, particularly in the Sinjar region in mid-2014 on the pretext of protecting the local Yazidi community from Daesh terrorists. Since then, the PKK has reportedly established a new command base in Sinjar to carry out logistical activities.

Turkey has long stressed that it will not tolerate threats posed to its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorists. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting the group. Recently, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar expressed that Turkey was prepared to provide assistance to Iraq in clearing terrorists from the region. Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has called the PKK’s presence in Sinjar unacceptable and urged the militants to leave the area. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) regularly conducts cross-border operations where PKK terrorists have hideouts and bases from which to carry out attacks in Turkey.

In its more than 40-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.