World Bulletin / News Desk
The presence of the PKK terror group in Iraq’s Kirkuk is a matter of “survival” for Turkey, an opposition leader said Tuesday.
Devlet Bahceli, whose Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) forms the smallest group in parliament, told his party’s lawmakers that the PKK’s presence in the oil-rich region was “an alarm for Turkey”.
He added: “This is a high-level survival issue.”
On Sunday night and Monday, Iraqi forces moved against Kurdish elements in Kirkuk following last month’s illegitimate independence referendum in territory controlled by the Erbil-based Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
Kirkuk is among the territory seized by Kurdish forces when the Iraqi military abandoned the city in the face of Daesh advances in 2015 but is not within the borders of the KRG’s autonomous territory.
Bahceli welcomed the government’s decision to close Turkish airspace to and from northern Iraq.
“We are shoulder-to-shoulder to strive for survival to the end,” he added. “We are on the same point against tyrants.”
Bahceli also called for the capture of KRG President Masoud Barzani “if necessary”, as well as “military action to block the PKK's struggle to gain dominance in the field in northern Iraq”.
In August, Bahceli said the KRG’s referendum, which was opposed by Baghdad, Turkey, Iran and the U.S., would be reason for Turkey to go to war.
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