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Ankara not backing down from Iraq intervention

A week after announcing an end to operations in Syria, Turkey announced that it plans to launch a military operation in Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Sinjar, a move guaranteed to outrage the Baghdad government.
A Turkish army tank drives towards to the border in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX2MYVY

Having announced the end of Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria on March 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly thereafter declared a pending new stage of the operation, but on Iraqi soil. Any such operation is expected to exacerbate the myriad conflicts in the area.

Erdogan announced the new operation in an April 4 television interview with the Anadolu Agency. Identifying Turkey's targets, he said, “There are the Tal Afar and Sinjar situations. We also have kin in Mosul.” The “kin” Erdogan referred to are Turkmens. During an April 7 TV interview, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed the government's plans for an Iraq campaign and explained Sinjar's importance. “The PKK [Kurdistan Workers Party] wants to build its own camp in Sinjar, which we cannot allow,” he said. “We will undertake a [military] intervention, or they [PKK forces] will cross our borders to launch terrorist attacks.” No time frame has been publicly announced for the Iraq operation.

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