Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid has publicly condemned Turkey’s military actions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
In an interview with Saudi state-owned broadcaster Al-Hadath aired on Monday, Rashid stated that the air strikes and military bases are “rejected by the Iraqi people, the [Kurdistan] Region and all of Iraq’s inhabitants”.
Turkey announced on Sunday that it had carried out air strikes in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, allegedly destroying 20 targets associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The outlawed group recently claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack in the Turkish capital that targeted the country’s General Directorate of Security.
The timing of the interview remains unclear, leaving it uncertain whether Rashid’s comments were made before or after the Turkish air strikes on Sunday.
Turkey regularly conducts air strikes in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and has established military bases on Iraqi soil to support its controversial cross-border offensives.
Rashid, a member of the Iraqi Kurdish political party the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), drew attention to the civilian casualties left behind by the Turkish assaults. People visiting the region, he said, “become victims of Turkish bombing”.
The Iraqi president advocated a resolution based on dialogue with Ankara, suggesting a security agreement similar to the one Iraq has with Iran.
The role of the president in Iraq remains largely ceremonial, but Rashid’s comments nevertheless indicate a significant stance against Turkey’s military activities in the region.
This stance against Turkey’s military activities gains further significance in light of recent events. On 18 September, a drone taking off from Turkey attacked Arbat airport in Sulaymaniyah, a facility recently transformed into a hub for counter-terrorism units. The attack resulted in the death of three Peshmergas and was strongly condemned by both local and international authorities. Qubad Talabani, the deputy prime minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, refuted allegations that Syrian Kurdish forces were involved in the incident.