Turkey aims to dry up Iraq, North Syria from PKK: Erdogan

Dilan Sirwan

Jun. 03, 2024 • 2 min read
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Turkish President Erdogan highlights Turkey's security concerns, emphasizing the need to eliminate "terrorist" threats from Iraq and northern Syria, specifically targeting the PKK.

Turkey will not find peace or feel safe until it dries up producers of “terror” in Iraq and north Syria, the Turkish president told members of his party on Sunday.


Addressing members of his party on Sunday night, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Turkish cross-border operations have been in a bid to eliminate the “terrorist” threat on the country and that his government will not take a step back from it.


“Turkey cannot reach peace and feel safe without the terror-producing swamps in Iraq and northern Syria being dried up,” Turkish state media quoted Erdogan as saying.


Erdogan added that as they defeat these groups, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), "our democracy will flourish, and all of Turkey, with its 85 million citizens, will win, regardless of whether they are Turks or Kurds."


Turkey has for years launched several rounds of an operation dubbed Claw Operation against positions of the PKK in the Kurdistan Region. The latest in the series of operations was launched in April 2022, dubbed Operation Claw Lock, which aims to end the group’s presence in the region.


Turkish officials have previously claimed that they aim to end the current operation this summer, with Erdogan in March claiming that they are close to permanently “resolving” the PKK presence on the Turkey-Iraq border.


After a high-level delegation from the Turkish government visited Baghdad in March, Baghdad announced that they have officially categorized the PKK as a threat to its security and classified it as a banned group in the country.


The PKK is an armed group that has fought for increased Kurdish rights in Turkey for decades, the group, designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, uses mountainous areas of the Kurdistan Region as shelter and often engages in direct armed conflict with Turkey.


Turkey has on several occasions carried out aerial strikes claiming to be targeting the group’s positions in the Kurdistan Region, and have caused civilian casualties multiple times, despite Ankara’s denial.

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Author Dilan Sirwan

Dilan Sirwan is an Erbil-based Kurdish journalist covering Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. He focuses on political, economic, and social issues.


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