Turkish army constructs new military base in Kurdistan Region

Turkish army constructs new military base in Kurdistan Region

Shafaq News/ On Wednesday, eyewitnesses from Kista village in the Al-Amadiya district north of Duhok Governorate in Iraqi Kurdistan reported that the Turkish army is building a new military base on Radi Hill (Tal Radi) overlooking the village.

An eyewitness told Shafaq News Agency that "Turkish military vehicles have been working day and night at this site for the past two weeks on the road, and helicopters occasionally land there."

"The villagers cannot leave their village and cannot tend to their livestock or take care of their farms due to the presence of the Turkish army in nearby locations." He said.

Ankara's fight against the PKK has been ongoing, with operations launched since 2016 across the border with Iraq.

Since 2019, Ankara has established several bases in the Duhok Governorate in northern Iraq through informal agreements between Turkiye and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

Informal figures suggest that Turkiye has a permanent deployment of 5,000 to 10,000 soldiers in Iraqi territory, where it has created a de facto secure zone and moved the armed struggle onto Iraqi soil. It has also built roads in Iraq to connect its military bases and achieve more effective area control. The last one was in February 2024, when Ankara said the road is to "streamline the movement of military and logistical supplies to its bases in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq."

In 2022, Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army Abdel Emir Yarallah exposed the extent of Turkiye's military presence in Iraq, revealing that it operates five bases in the country.

Yarallah said, "The bases include more than 4,000 Turkish fighters." noting that Turkiye had 40 positions in Iraq in 2021, and the figure has since risen to 100, with many located just short distances from the Zakho, Al-Amadiya, and Duhok regions.

Iraq views Turkish airstrikes and bases as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. These operations commonly cause civilian casualties and damage infrastructure alongside the killing of PKK members.

The Iraqi government also worries that Turkish military presence in northern Iraq could destabilize the Region and empower Kurdish separatists within Iraq.

On the other hand, Turkiye expressed disappointment in the Iraqi government's historical "reluctance" to acknowledge and ban the PKK as a terrorist organization.

However, recent developments have signaled a shift in Iraq's stance.

Last March, Turkiye proposed the establishment of a "joint operation center" with Iraq to combat the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a move that has received a positive response from Baghdad.

The PKK is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union.

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