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Iraqi Kurdistan bans pro-PKK party amid Turkish pressure

Turkey exerted its political and economic pressure on Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government to close the headquarters of political parties that share the ideology of the Kurdistan Workers Party.
Kurdish demonstrators hold flags during a protest demanding the release of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan, in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed - RC1EA9AA5C90
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SULAIMANIYAH, Iraq — Yielding to extensive pressure from Turkey, the Kurdistan Regional Government recently decided to ban political parties not officially licensed by its Interior Ministry — even if those parties are licensed by Iraq's federal government. One such party, Tavgari Azadi, which supports the ideology of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK, says the closure of its headquarters is illegal and came about only as a response to Turkish threats.

The Kurdistan region's security services, the Asayish, closed Tavgari Azadi's headquarters in the city of Sulaimaniyah, as well as in the towns of Qaladiza, Raparin, Koya and Kifri, on Nov. 29.

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