ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish lawmakers have accused Baghdad of failing to defend the sovereignty of Iraq’s territory after footage of Turkish troops in the village of Barmiza in the Kurdistan Region circulated on social media.
Over the past few months, Turkish forces have ventured into the Kurdistan Region, as far as 20 kilometers in some areas, in operations claiming to target the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)
This weekend, a video of Turkish soldiers and their military vehicles in the village of Barmiza, near the town of Sidakan on the border with Turkey, went viral on Kurdish social media.
“The desire of [former] President Masoud Barzani and most of the people in the Kurdistan Region during the referendum on independence was to become the [sole] owners of our homes. Right now, we are not the owners,” Ari Harseen, a lawmaker in the Kurdistan Region’s Parliament, told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
“Since Kurdistan is not an independent country, any state that crosses the border gets permission from Baghdad, not the Kurdistan Region,” he asserted.
Sidakan, in the Kurdistan Region’s province of Erbil, borders two neighboring countries. Many of its 115 villages, however, were evacuated as a result of ongoing Turkish airstrikes targeting the PKK, an Ankara-designated ‘terrorist’ organization.
“Turkey entered the Kurdistan Region as the world looked on. Surely, the US gave them the green light. Otherwise, how would it be possible for Turkey to cross the border?”
Harseen also raised concerns about the impending Iraqi water crisis, brought on by neighboring Iran and Turkey, which seemed to coincide with the recent mobilization of Turkish troops into the Kurdistan Region.
“Iran reduced the flow of water – people’s life source – to the Kurdistan Region,” Harseen noted.
Both Iran and Turkey this week restricted the flow of water to the Kurdistan Region and Iraq with new dams preserving the precious resource upstream of the Tigris and Zab Rivers.
“The Iraqi government’s duty is to resolve these issues. The [integrity] of Iraq’s lands and the skies rests in the hands of Baghdad. The Iraqi Defense and Foreign Ministries must protect the country’s borders,” Adil Nouri, a Kurdish lawmaker in the Iraqi Parliament, argued while speaking with Kurdistan 24 on Sunday.
Nouri called on the Iraqi government to take action against Iran and Turkey.
In late March, the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region, Nechirvan Barzani, explained Turkey had crossed the Kurdistan Region’s border because of the PKK.
“It is very unfortunate. We have tried [to address this] and told the PKK, 'You cannot use the Kurdistan Region’s lands to hide after launching military attacks on Turkey.' It is unacceptable, and we have warned them several times,” Barzani previously stated during a press conference.
Editing by Nadia Riva