(Sputnik) – Earlier on Sunday, Turkish media cited President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying that that the operation against the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara, had started in Iraq’s Sinjar.
“At the moment, there is no movement of Turkish [forces] in the town of Sinjar, Nineveh Governorate. If this happens, we will respond with force to protect the Yazidis [a Kurdish religious minority],” the party’s member said, noting that Erdogan frequently makes wrongful statements.
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed over a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by PKK members. Turkish forces are currently involved in anti-PKK raids across the country.
On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched military operation dubbed “Olive Branch” in Afrin in order to “clear” Turkey’s Syrian border from “the terrorist threat.” Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia to be linked to the PKK. Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed later his plans on northern Iraq in the course of Ankara’s operation.
On Saturday, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces announced that Ankara had established full control over Afrin. Erdogan, however, has said on multiple occasions that the Turkish operation in northern Syria will not end with the seizure of Afrin and will focus on the regions of Manbij and Idlib moving forward up to the Iraqi border.