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Turkey to establish new military base in Iraqi Kurdistan

Ankara has announced that Turkey will establish a military base in the mountainous area of Metina, near the Turkish border, in what critics consider a step toward controlling Iraqi Kurdistan.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu delivers a speech during a press conference in Ankara April 22, 2019.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced today that Turkey will establish a military base in Metina, a mountainous area close to the Turkish border in Iraqi Kurdistan, to surveil the broader region. Speaking to members of the ruling Justice and Development Party's executive board, Soylu said, “Metina is an important region. Just as we did in Syria, we will build a base here and monitor the region. This area is a route to Qandil; we will control this route.”

Soylu was referring to the Qandil mountains on the Iraq-Iran border, where the main command center of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is based. He did not clarify his comparison with Syria, where Turkish troops occupy over 8,000 square miles in the north of the country, including Kurdish-majority Afrin, where the terrain is mostly flat. However, there, too, the Turkish presence is principally aimed at torpedoing PKK efforts to establish contiguity between the Kurdish-majority areas in the northeast with Afrin to the West.

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