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Iran Press TV

Turkey vows to continue attacks on PKK militants in Iraq

Iran Press TV

Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:37AM

Turkey says it will continue its attacks on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group in northern Iraq despite Baghdad's protest at repeated violations of its airspace.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Saturday that the operations against the militants "will continue as long as terror organizations nest on Iraqi soil and as long as Turkey's security needs require it to."

"The activities of the PKK terrorist organization in the territory of Iraq and Syria have become a national security issue for Turkey," he added.

He made the remarks a day after Baghdad summoned the Turkish ambassador over Ankara's latest airstrikes against Kurdish militants.

Aksoy said the government in Baghdad had a duty to prevent Iraqi land being used as a base for attacks on neighbors.

Baghdad, meanwhile, said the Turkish military's Thursday airstrikes were unacceptable "on all levels" and violated its sovereignty and the security of its citizens.

The Turkish military said in a tweet on Friday it had killed eight PKK militants in airstrikes targeting the Zap, Hakurk and Haftanin regions of northern Iraq.

Turkey regularly carries out airstrikes against PKK targets in northern Iraq. The militants regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey, which is attached to northern Iraq.

Ankara has declared the PKK a terrorist group and banned it. The militant group has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region since 1984.

PKK militants 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.

Over the past few months, Turkish ground and air forces have been carrying out operations against PKK positions in the country as well as in northern Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The Turkish president on Friday said Ankara will send its forces to the Syrian town of Manbij if the United States does not remove the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia from the area.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed YPG.

Turkey has been infuriated by US support for the YPG, which forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants.

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