PM: Iraqi Constitution Forbids the Use of Its Territory for Attacks Against Turkey

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Rudaw at a press conference on Tuesday that Baghdad did not support the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and that the Iraqi constitution forbids the use of its territory for attacks against Turkey as he called on Ankara to respect Iraq’s sovereignty.

“Certainly, the PKK is a non-Iraqi organization, it is a Turkish organization,” Abadi told Rudaw’s Baghdad correspondent Bahman Hassan. “We are not supporting the PKK and the Iraqi constitution absolutely forbids the use of any organizations to launch attacks against its neighbors, and we abide by that.”

“So we do not allow any party to use Iraqi soil to stage attacks against Turkey.” Abadi added.

Abadi said that the PKK had been in the northern Qandil Mountains for three decades and that they could receive a different treatment if they were political refugees, but not as an armed group threatening Turkey.

“The PKK is a Turkish organization, present in Turkey and some in Iraq, too,” the Iraqi PM said. “They came to Iraq not today, but 30 years ago, during the fight and they are present in Qandil and other areas.

“If the PKK were political asylees our treatment with them would be different, but if they are an armed group aiming to use Iraqi territories to destabilize Turkey, we will not agree to that in any form.”

There have been reports recently of alleged Iraqi financial support for the PKK in Shingal region west of Mosul which has upset both Erbil and Ankara.

In response to Rudaw’s question, Abadi said that Baghdad and Ankara must be on the same page of not allowing armed groups against each other and that terrorist acts in one country does not justify the invasion of another.

“We also refuse the use of the PKK in Iraq for other purposes,” he said. “There are terrorist acts taking place in Turkey, but would that justify others to attack Turkey to eradicate terrorism?”

Abadi went on to say that Iraq itself was victim of foreign-sponsored terrorism.

“Of course there are fears and it is the right of countries to be concerned and we understand it as we also fear the backing of terrorism in Iraq,” he explained. “ISIS did not come out of the blue. It was helped to cross its suicide bombers and fighters into Iraqi and Syria where they killed civilians.”

Abadi, who is scheduled to meet his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildrim in Baghdad on Thursday, said that he was going to discuss these concerns and reassure him that Iraq is not backing anyone against Turkey.

“I have had discussions with Turkish prime minister and president and Iraq has had great understanding and they see Iraq’s position on this issue a healthy one and Iraq is not complicit in any way in violating this or backing any groups to attack Turkey.” Abadi revealed.