Observers Express Fear Over Turkish “Occupation” of Iraqi Kurdistan Region

Kurdish political observers on Wednesday expressed concern over the ongoing Turkish military operations in Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR), terming it an attempt to occupy the region.

Kamaran Mantik, an Erbil-based Kurdish political science professor, told The New Arab that it’s not a simple military crackdown to target Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), but it’s an attempt to occupy the region and establish more military bases.

“Turkey from the beginning was clear to re-annex the region and resurrect the Ottoman Empire,” Mantik claimed, and said that Turkey is carrying out this strategy gradually and engaged in building roads and other infrastructures for its future operations.

Mantik called the ongoing Turkish strategy “very dangerous,” and asked the Kurds politicians to realize the threat.

Mantik said that Turkey is taking advantage of the current political divergence among the Kurds politicians to reach its goal. “The Kurds would have been able to restrict Turkish aggressions if they had a unified political stance against Turkey,” Mantik added.

Turkey on April 18 announced its “Operation Claw-Lock” against the PKK in the Metina, Zap, and Avasin-Basyan areas of the Iraqi Kurdistan region, terming it successful thus far.

Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar had earlier said it had completed the first stage of its operation, and over 40 PKK fighters were killed. 

Turkey, the US, and European Union designated PKK as a terrorist organization, and the group is engaged in the fight against Turkey for over 40 years.

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