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Turkey, Iraq to boost anti-terror cooperation

By AFP - Jan 03,2019 - Last updated at Jan 03,2019

ANKARA — Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Ankara and Baghdad would deepen cooperation against terrorism after tensions last month over Turkish air strikes against Kurdish militants in Iraq.

"We know the importance of working together to be successful in our fight against terror. God willing, in the future we will deepen our cooperation in this area," Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Saleh.

Erdogan said there were threats to both countries from "terrorist organisations" such as the Daesh group, Kurdish militants and the group blamed for a failed coup in 2016.

"Iraq wants real cooperation and strategic partnership with Turkey," Saleh said, which would "serve not just the two countries but the whole region".

The talks come after the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad was summoned last month to protest against "repeated" Turkish air strikes on Iraqi territory.

Baghdad at the time denounced the strikes as a "violation of its sovereignty" after Ankara hit Kurdish militant positions in the northern Sinjar and Mount Karajak regions. 

Turkish warplanes have often bombed hideouts of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984 and is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The Turkish defence ministry earlier on Thursday said warplanes had struck PKK targets in the Zap, Metina, Avasin-Basyan and Gara regions on Wednesday.

Erdogan has threatened to expand Turkey’s fight against the PKK to Iraq and launch an operation against the group in
Sinjar.

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