Erdoğan says Turkish military operation in Iraq’s Sinjar imminent

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President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan makes a speech during the draw ceremony for judges and public prosecutors at Bestepe Culture and Congress Center of Presidential Complex in Ankara, Turkey on March 19, 2018. Murat Kula / Anadolu Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on the Iraqi government take measures against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members in Sinjar, underlining that the Turkish military is ready to launch an Afrin-type operation in Iraq.

“We told the Iraqi central government that they should clear Sinjar [of PKK members]. I told them, ‘If you are not able to, we will enter the region suddenly one night and clear the area of PKK members’,” Erdoğan said during a ceremony at the presidential palace in Ankara while evaluating an ongoing Turkish military operation in the Afrin region of Syria.

“If we are brothers and friends, you [Baghdad] should facilitate it for us. If this issue much delayed, another Olive Branch [operation] will be conducted there [in Sinjar],” he added.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed PKK.

The Turkish military said on Sunday it had taken complete control of the town of Afrin.

“We will not stop there; it will continue,” Erdoğan said, underlining that Turkish military operations will expand east to Manbij, Ras al-Ayn, Tel Abyad, Ayn al-Arab, Al-Bab and Qamishli.

Erdoğan said Turkey aims to completely finish off a “terrorist corridor” stretching along the Turkish border in northern Syria.

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