Iraq rejects presence of Turkish and other foreign forces in its land
October 3, 2012 (TSR) – The Iraqi cabinet on Tuesday rejected the presence of foreign forces on its land, and called for cancelling treaties that permit foreign forces to enter Iraq.
“The cabinet decided to reject the presence of any foreign bases or forces on the Iraqi land and to reject the entry of any foreign military forces into Iraqi land under the pretext of chasing rebels,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.
The remarks came during a regular cabinet session earlier in the day, in which the cabinet discussed a draft law submitted on Monday by the Turkish government asking the Turkish parliament to renew the mandate for its armed forces to carry out cross-border operations to curb the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in Iraq’s Kurdistan region for another year.
The statement also recommended the Iraqi parliament “to cancel or not to extend any previous agreement concluded with any foreign country in this regard.”
“The draft law in the Turkish parliament to extend the mandate for Turkish troops to cross the Iraqi border to chase the rebels of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) is a violation to Iraq’s sovereignty and its security,” the statement said.
The first agreement between Turkey and Iraq was signed in 1983 under the name of “Border Security and Cooperation,” and the first military operation was made in the same year by the Turkish troops. Then the military operations were repeated several times during 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Turkish troops also frequently carry out air strikes and artillery shelling in Iraq’s northern region of Kurdistan targeting the PKK rebels who believed to be holed up in mountainous areas in northern Iraq.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, the PKK took up arms in 1984 to create an ethnic homeland in southeastern Turkey.
Some 40,000 people have been killed in conflicts, fuelled by PKK’s separatist campaign in Turkey.