ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An official from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Thursday said that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) must not work against the interests of the Kurdistan Region and its citizens.
“The Kurdistan Region has strong ties with Turkey and Iran on diplomatic, economic, and political levels,” said Safeen Dizayee, head of the KRG's Department of Foreign Relations in an interview with Kurdistan 24.
He added, “The PKK needs to take into account the political situation of the KRG and not take steps that might negatively affect the region and its people.”
The PKK, headquartered in the Kurdistan Region's Qandil Mountains, has been fighting an almost four-decade-long insurgency against Ankara which has resulted in over 40,000 casualties on both sides. Its fighters have also carried out attacks on Iranian forces. Turkey, the US, and the EU view it as a ‘terrorist’ organization.
In the past decade, Turkey has regularly shelled areas over its border into the Kurdistan Region to target PKK fighters and positions, with operations intensifying and covering more territory in the past year. In some areas, Turkish forces have mobilized as far as 30 kilometers deep into the region.
Dizayee praised the KRG’s positive role in helping to establish a short-lived 2015 peace deal between Ankara and the PKK and said he hoped for resumed dialog to address the grievances of each.
Due to Turkish airstrikes and other military operations in recent months, approximately 400 villages have been evacuated as a result of continued bombardment that has destroyed homes, damaged farms, and sometimes kills residents.
In recent years, the KRG has repeatedly called for Ankara and the PKK to take their fight elsewhere.
Editing by John J. Catherine