Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara and Baghdad will carry out a joint military operation against members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in the northern parts of the Arab country.
The top Turkish diplomat announced the news at a joint press conference with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl in Vienna on Thursday, less than two months after Ankara launched a full-scale cross-border military operation in Syria’s northern region of Afrin with the declared aim of eliminating the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The Turkish government regards the YPG as a Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
Cavusoglu did not give further details about the joint operation, but said “both Syria and Iraq need to be cleared off from all terrorist groups. Otherwise the political steps that will be taken regarding a political solution would fail.”
The senior Turkish diplomat also stressed that mutual steps would be taken against “terrorists” after Iraq’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for May, as both sides had agreed on the issue in previous high-level meetings.