Iraq denies any agreements with Turkish regime to begin operation in the north

Turkey regime is committing continuous violations that have no legal basis, nor are there any agreements between Baghdad and Ankara, the Iraqi foreign ministry said on Sunday, adding that Turkey cannot invoke a UN Charter article for self-defense without Iraq’s approval.

“The Turkish regime side is carrying out continuous violations that are not based on any legal basis or agreement between the two countries, and they invoke Article 51 of the United Nations Charter for self-defense, and this cannot be implemented without official Iraqi approval,” foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed al-Sahaf told Iraqi state media.

The statement from Sahaf came after Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein was summoned by the Iraqi parliament on Sunday where he met with deputy speaker Hakim al-Zamili to answer questions regarding the Turkish operation along the Kurdistan Region’s borders.

“The Foreign Minister presented the file of the presence of the PKK since 1984 and confirmed that what is rumored about the existence of an agreement allowing Turkey to penetrate northern Iraq is incorrect. There are only minutes of a meeting between Baghdad and Ankara before 2003 allowing the latter to penetrate to a depth of 5 km only, and for limited days, in coordination with the Iraqi government,” Sahaf said.

According to Sahaf, the meeting further discussed whether it would be in Iraq’s interest to respond through hard force, as well as economically and politically.

The Iraqi parliament “rejects the presence of any armed organization or military force that uses our land as a launchpad for attacking neighboring countries,” Zamili said in the meeting. 

Following the meeting on Sunday, Iraq’s parliament rejected Turkey’s new operation in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province while emphasizing that Iraqi soil should not be used as a staging ground to launch attacks on neighboring states.

Ankara last week announced a new phase in a series of operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group struggling for the increased rights of Kurds in Turkey. The operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, is an air and ground assault that heavily focuses on mountainous areas within the Region’s borders with Turkey, where the PKK maintains a presence.

Despite several Iraqi officials condemning the Turkish breach of Iraqi sovereignty over the past week, Ankara continues its military operation.

A video tweeted by the Turkish defense ministry on Monday showed Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visiting a Turkish military base on his country’s side of the border with Iraq the day before.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed on Wednesday that the fresh assault is carried out in coordination with the Iraqi government, thanking Baghdad and Erbil for their “support.” Hours later, the Iraqi government and the Region’s Peshmerga ministry rejected the allegations.

Turkey has come under criticism from Baghdad, Erbil, Tehran, and the wider international community for violating Iraqi sovereignty, but Ankara continues to establish increasing numbers of bases and outposts in the mountains of Erbil and Duhok provinces.


Arab Observer

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