President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey’s recent cross-border operation into northern Iraq solely aims to maintain the country’s border security.
“Our aim with the operation, dubbed Claw-Lock, is to both clear the Iraqi lands from the terrorist organization and to ensure the border security of our country,” Erdogan told the country’s lawmakers.
He said Turkey “does not have eyes on anyone’s territory.”
Erdogan thanked Iraqi authorities for their support in Turkey’s fight against terrorism in Iraq.
Erdogan also vowed to conduct further military actions against Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.
The Turkish military on Monday launched a new ground and air offensive against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq. The military campaign targets PKK’s shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, ammunition depots and headquarters in the Metina, Zap and Avasin-Basyan regions, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said.
Turkey regularly conducts cross-border operations on PKK bases in northern Iraq despite despite Iraq’s repeated condemnation of Turkey’s violation of its sovereignty.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.
Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK. ■