Turkish foreign minister urges Iraq to label PKK as terrorist over occupation claims

SULAIMANI, Kurdistan Region — Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has voiced concerns over the occupation of key regions in Iraq by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), urging the Iraqi government to officially recognize the group as a terrorist organization. Minister Fidan’s remarks came during a joint press conference held with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, in the capital city of Baghdad on Tuesday.

Minister Fidan conveyed the gravity of the situation, stating that the PKK had reportedly taken control of territories in the country including Sulaimani, Makhmour, Sinjar, and Qandil Mountain, with intentions to establish a link to Syria. The Turkish Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of Iraq’s cooperation in addressing this matter, appealing to the spirit of friendship and brotherhood between the two nations.

“We expect Iraq, out of friendship and brotherhood, to officially recognize PKK as a terrorist organization,” Minister Fidan stated, underlining Turkey’s commitment to assisting Iraq in ensuring its security and stability. Territorial integrity, political unity, and sovereignty of Iraq remain high priorities for Turkey, he added.

In addition to addressing the security concerns, Minister Fidan expressed Turkey’s full support for a development road project proposed by the Iraqi Prime Minister. The project aims to establish a connection between the Gulf and Europe, potentially transforming Iraq into a pivotal commercial hub. Minister Fidan called upon neighboring countries to contribute to Iraq’s development and prosperity through collaboration.

In response, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein acknowledged the depth of the discussions held with Turkey, particularly concerning the equitable distribution of water resources in the region. Iraq, known as the “country of the two rivers,” seeks to secure its fair share of water amidst ongoing negotiations with Turkey, Hussein added.

Minister Hussein also highlighted the significance of economic and trade relations between the two nations. With a substantial Iraqi population residing in Turkey and over 800 Turkish companies operating in Iraq, facilitating the issuance of visas was discussed as a measure to enhance these interactions further.

The joint press conference demonstrated the mutual recognition of challenges faced by Turkey and Iraq, as well as the commitment to work together in addressing issues of security, economic cooperation, and regional stability.

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