Posted on September 21, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Kirkuk, Politics, Politics
Haval Salim Zilan, a commander of the PKK in Kirkuk, Iraq. Photo: NRT
KIRKUK, Iraq,— The military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) responded on Tuesday to a call from the head of the Turkmen bloc in the Iraqi Parliament for Baghdad to take measures against the “PKK threat” in Iraq.
Last week, the head of the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF), Arshad Salihi, called on the government in Baghdad to expel the PKK from Iraq, put the PKK on a “terror list.”, and accused the Kurdish group of kidnapping Turkmen from Khurmatu town.
“The existence of the PKK on Iraqi soil is a threat to national security,” Salhi said.
Haval Salim Zilan, a commander of the PKK in Kirkuk, responded to Salhli’s remarks during a press conference.
“Recent remarks by the head of the Turkmen bloc obey Turkey’s policy, we have no bases in Tuz Khurmatu to pose any threat,” Zilan said.
Zilan said PKK members are fighting the Islamic State (IS) and have undergone sacrifices. “Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has praised the PKK, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) [Syrian Kurdish forces] and the Peshmerga as heroes,” Salim added. “He is aware of the sacrifices we have made.”
“We have bases one kilometer away from IS-occupied territories which are attempting to secure areas from terrorism,” the PKK commander said.
“Some say we have forces in Khurmatu. We do not have forces there. Those remarks do not belong to those who made it. Some other people made them say it,” Zilan said.
Salhi encouraged the Iraqi government to oust the PKK, “which has military bases in Tuz Khurmatu, Daquq and in the outskirts of Kirkuk,” according to the head of the Turkmen bloc, from Iraq.
“There is international cooperation with Iraq, especially with neighboring countries against the PKK,” according to Salhi, describing the PKK as Iranian exile group, the Mujahedin al-Khalq.
The PKK took up arms in 1984 against the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to push for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority who make up around 22.5 million of the country’s 78-million population. A large Kurdish community in Turkey and worldwide openly sympathise with PKK rebels.