NOHADRA, Iraq — Two days after news circulated that Turkey plans to construct a new military base in northern Iraq, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar visited the military base in southeast Turkey coordinating the country’s military campaign in Iraq. Akar was accompanied by the Chief of the General Staff and the commander of the ground forces, according to Turkish media outlets.
Turkish media also reported that Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu declared during a closed meeting of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) last Friday that Ankara will proceed with its military operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), stressing the strategic importance of the Metina area near the city of Nohadra (Dohuk). Soylu reportedly stated that they would establish bases and control the area, as they did in Syria.
Retired Iraqi Major General Majid al-Qubaisi indicated that the Turkish government is expanding its military presence in the Metina region and that the base they plan to build will be the largest in the KRI.
Al-Qubaisi pointed out that the new base will provide operational facilities for the Turkish forces, including helipads, and will likely seek to create buffer zones to prevent the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from moving between Iraq and Syria or within the area between Qandil and Nohadra. According to al-Qubaisi, Turkey already has 37 military bases in the region.
Iraq has previously called on Turkey to end its military activities on its territory, but Turkey accuses its neighbor of tolerating the presence of the PKK on its territory and refuses to end its cross-border campaign.