A recent video featuring Ali Awni, a prominent member of the Iraqi Kurdistan’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Leadership Council, has ignited controversy across the region. In the video, Awni not only legitimises the Turkish government’s increased military actions in Iraqi Kurdistan but also criticises Turkey for not targeting leaders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Speaking on a television channel in Iraqi Kurdistan, Awni remained silent on the targeted killings committed by Turkey in the region. Instead, he called on the Turkish government to target the leading members of the PKK, questioning Turkey’s ability to identify and target PKK leaders.
Addressing the Turkish government directly, Awni said: “You have the capability, through drones and the internet, to recognise the vehicles of PKK cadres and members among the tens of thousands of vehicles coming to Ahmedawa for picnics and to bomb them.”
The video has surfaced as tensions between Turkey and the PKK escalate, with Turkish forces conducting operations in various Kurdish regions and intensifying drone attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan, causing civilian causalities. Avni’s statements, which included calls for PKK leaders to be killed in specific locations, have been met with widespread condemnation.
The KDP has recently faced growing criticism for alleged support of Turkey’s military actions. Reports suggest that the KDP is actively collaborating with Turkey in ongoing assaults against Kurdish guerrillas in the Zap region of northern Iraq. Awni’s comments have only added fuel to the fire, with many seeing them as a betrayal of the Kurdish cause.
Ali Awni’s comments came on the heels of a call from PKK Executive Committee Member Murat Karayılan to the KDP to cease support for Turkey. Karayılan emphasised the need for unity among Kurdish forces and warned of the consequences of continued collaboration with Turkey.