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Iran Press TV

Iraq calls on Turkey to coordinate strikes on PKK

Iran Press TV

Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:3PM

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has called on Turkey to coordinate with Baghdad its military campaign against positions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

'We are for the security of Turkey. Turkey has the right to defend itself,' al-Jaafari said on Sunday. 'But there must be coordination on the ground with the Iraqi government and Iraqi armed forces.'

Al-Jaafari also called on Turkish forces to avoid residential areas in their military operations.

The top diplomat noted that he had summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad last week to protest the 'violation' of Iraq's territory and sovereignty after Turkish special forces crossed into northern Iraq in 'hot pursuit' of the PKK militants.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Turkey to exercise self-restraint amid Ankara's escalating fight against the PKK, saying Ankara must absolutely avoid overreaction not to exacerbate the already volatile situation in the country.

The Turkish military has been conducting strikes against the PKK positions in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey since late July.

A shaky ceasefire between Ankara and the PKK that had stood since 2013 was declared null and void by the militants following the Turkish airstrikes against the group.

The PKK has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey since 1984. The conflict has left tens of thousands of people dead.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iraqi foreign minister strongly denounced the Qatari authorities for recently hosting a conference which was attended by some former Ba'athist regime officials and militant leaders wanted by Iraqi courts on terrorism charges.

Jaafari said the conference sent a message of encouraging sectarianism in Iraq. 'Sometimes political intervention is no less dangerous than military intervention,' he said.

Iraqi officials have repeatedly accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding the Daesh militant group which has been wreaking havoc across Iraq over the past months.

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