UPDATE - Türkiye expects Iraq to officially recognize PKK as terrorist organization: Turkish foreign minister

UPDATE - Türkiye expects Iraq to officially recognize PKK as terrorist organization: Turkish foreign minister

'We must not allow PKK terrorist organization to poison our bilateral relations,' says Hakan Fidan

UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER HAKAN FIDAN, HIS IRAQI COUNTERPART FUAD HUSSEIN

By Muhammed Enes Calli

ISTANBUL (AA) – Türkiye expects Iraq to officially recognize PKK as a terrorist organization, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Fuad Hussein in Iraq's capital Baghdad, Fidan said: "We expect Iraq, out of friendship and brotherhood, to officially recognize PKK as a terrorist organization."

"We must not allow the PKK terrorist organization, which is a common enemy of Türkiye and Iraq, to poison our bilateral relations," he added.

"We cannot accept PKK challenging the sovereignty of Iraq."

Fidan said that territorial integrity, political unity, and sovereignty of Iraq are one of Türkiye's priorities.

"Sinjar, Makhmour, Qandil, Sulaymaniyah, and many other Iraqi districts have been occupied by the PKK terror group."

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the UK, US, and EU — has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Türkiye supports Iraq's fight against the PKK terrorist organization, Fidan said.

"We are ready to collaborate with Iraq in the fight against all forms of terrorist organizations, whether it's the PKK or Daesh, regardless of their names."

"These groups, aiming to undermine Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity, are targeting the stability and prosperity of our Iraqi brothers, and committing crimes against humanity," he added.


- Water issue in Iraq

Türkiye is closely following the water problem that Iraq is experiencing and approaching this issue from a humanitarian perspective, Fidan said.

Fidan said the region is going through the driest period in recent years.

"When it comes to water, cooperative and continuous dialogue mechanism which is based on scientific principles should be set up."


- Attacks on Quran

Fidan likened the ongoing attacks against the Holy Quran to the burning of books before World War II.

"The process started with the burnings of books and then turned into concentration camps."

“Against this threat, as the Muslim world, we must struggle together," he added.

Fidan reminded that the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an extraordinary meeting with the initiative of Fuad Hussein in July.

"As a result of our steps within OIC, the burning of the holy books has been recognized as a breach of international law as well as religious hatred by the UN."

Islamophobic figures and groups in Northern Europe in recent months have repeatedly attempted to desecrate the Muslim holy book, drawing outrage from Muslim countries and the world.


- 'Our trade relations with Türkiye have progressed,' says Fuad Hussein

Noting that relations between Iraq and Türkiye are important, the Iraqi foreign minister said: “We prioritize the development of these relations through continuous discussions with the Turkish government and ministries.”

“Our geographical, humanitarian, historical, and cultural commonalities form the foundation of these relations."

Hussein pointed to the commercial and economic relations between the two countries, stating: "Our trade relations with Türkiye have progressed rapidly and continue to develop."

He emphasized that the Iraqi constitution does not allow any foreign armed group (such as the PKK terrorist organization) to use Iraq as a base to launch attacks against neighboring countries.

Regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's anticipated visit to Iraq, he said: "I hope that we will quickly sign joint agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two parties to pave the way for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Baghdad."

Hussein said both countries are affected by the consequences of climate change.

"We also discussed the issue of water during our meeting. Both countries are impacted by climate change. Climate change and drought have a negative impact on agriculture and the economy in Iraq."

There is a need for continuous and collaborative cooperation on this issue, he added.


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