This week Nechirvan Barzani, who is Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government and leader of the PDK, addressed the issue of the Turkish military conducting cross border operations into Kurdistan in an attempt to target PKK militants via airstrikes. He told reporters during a press conference that the PKK is at fault and that Turkey is not to blame. The PKK has long been at odds with Turkey and currently has several headquarters within Iraqi Kurdistan.
Why did Turkey violate the border? What is the reason? There should  be a reason. There is a reason why this is happening. That reason must first be  resolved. So long as this reason is not resolved, you cannot talk  about the fallout.” He continued with, “As the Kurdistan Region, we have a principle. Our principle is that  the territories of the Kurdistan Region must in no way be used to  attack, to cause violence against our neighbors. This policy as a  principle stands the same for Turkey, Iran or Syria. We do not accept, nor do we allow the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to be  used to cause violence in those countries,” adding that, “It is not acceptable for the PKK to launch military operations from  the territories of Kurdistan, and then return to the Kurdistan  Region.” Barzani stated.
The PKK has waged an insurgency against the Turkish military since 1984 and the conflict has been renewed by Turkey’s incursion into Afrin, Syria. Despite the efforts of various government and political party based officials efforts to curb the PKK’s attacks in Kurdistan, they have yet to let up. Recently the Turkish military conducted airstrike against PKK villages on the border and a number of civilians as well as PKK members were killed. The PKK has promised to retaliate in response. Turkey has made it clear that it is prepared to continue this course of action with direct operations in the north but will only do so with permission from the central Iraqi government.
Barzani has insisted that he is personally attempting to repair Kurdish relations with turkey and get them to reopen flights into Sulaymaniah. They have reopened travel between Turkey and Erbil but have accused the PUK of collaboration with the PKK, thus excluding Sulaymaniah’s airport because it is PUK territory. The PUK is currently attempting to mend its broken relationship with the Turkish government while simultaneously appeasing the PKK.
Featured Image Courtesy of KRG.OFFICE [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons