IRAQ: Turkish army targets residents of Zakho villages, prevents them from entering villages and orchards

NOHADRA (DUHOK PROVINCE) / ZAKHO, Iraq – For the second consecutive day, the Turkish army continues to bomb the villages of the Zakho district in the Kurdish Region of Iraq, launching the attacks from Turkish military posts it has set up in the region.

Local sources reported to ANHA News that residents of the village of Shalene in the Baguva sub-district of the Zakho region had been subjected to Turkish bombing while attempting to enter their orchards. The sources indicated that the Turkish forces told the residents that they were prohibited from entering their villages, including their orchards. ANHA stated that there is no confirmation whether there were any casualties as a result of the Turkish bombing.

The Turkish army (re-)entered northern Iraq in June of this year and set up military posts in what it calls a war against terrorists, referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The setting up of the Turkish military posts and military operation against the PKK are assumed to have the (implicit) approval of the Kurdistan Democratic Party – the ruling political party dominated by the Barzani-clan.

The KDP and the Barzani family have close financial and political relations with Turkey and both see the the PKK, which is outlawed in Turkey, as adversary. The PKK denies that it is a terrorist organization, claims to be in an armed fight against decades-long ultra-nationalist and denialist Turkish policies, and wants to obtain full rights as a people for Kurds and other peoples in Turkey.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustapha al-Kadhimi on Thursday visited Turkey in which the two sides also discussed the military operations against “terrorist organizations”. Turkish President Erdogan said in a joint press conference that the two leaders “decided to continue our fight against our common enemies – Daesh, PKK and FETO terrorist organizations.” Kadhimi did not name specific groups, but said he condemns “any action that threatens Turkey or any threat sourced from Iraqi soil against Turkey’s national security.”

On Wednesday there was a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers in which the Iraqi FM Fuad Hussein said: “The Iraqi constitution doesn’t allow an organization to operate inside Iraq and attack other countries from Iraq. We are committed to the Iraqi constitution, any activity against our neighbors and Turkey is against Iraq’s principles.”

The continued bombing after the Iraq-Turkey meeting in Ankara might hence be interpreted as an implicit approval by Iraqi authorities of Turkish military presence in Iraq.