Turkey respects borders of Iraq: Defense minister


Turkey respects the borders and sovereignty of Iraq, and the recent cross-border operation only aims to fight against the illegal PKK elements there, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on May 5.

“We respect the borders and sovereignty of all our neighbors, especially friendly and brotherly Iraq. Our only goal is to fight against terrorism. Everyone should know that we are in northern Iraq due to the terrorists nesting there in terms of Iraq’s terrain conditions,” he said, addressing troops at the Gölcük Naval Command.

A total of 68 PKK members were killed in northern Iraq in the Turkish Claw-Lightning and Claw-Thunderbolt military operation, the defense minister said.

Iraq on May 3 summoned the top Turkish diplomat in Baghdad to protest the Turkish defense minister’s weekend visit to a military base in northern Iraq.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it handed the Turkish charge d’affaires a protest note over Akar’s visit to a Turkish base in northern Iraq.

According to the statement, the ministry told the top Turkish Embassy official that Baghdad “categorically rejects the continuing violations of Iraqi sovereignty … by the Turkish military forces.”

On May 1, Akar visited a Turkish Armed Forces military base in northern Iraq and was accompanied by commanders.

Hurriyet Daily News


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