Turkey offers Iraq technical help to bolster border security to prevent PKK movement

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Turkey is in discussions with Iraq to provide technical assistance to Baghdad for securing its borders to prevent movements of outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants around the region, a Turkish defense ministry official said on Thursday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Baghdad and Erbil this week as Ankara ramped up cross-border operations against PKK militants based in mountainous, mainly Kurdish northern Iraq.

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The two countries agreed to a strategic framework agreement overseeing security, trade and energy as well as a defense cooperation deal during the visit.

“We told our counterparts that Turkey is ready to provide assistance to Iraq on border security systems,” the Turkish official told reporters.

A delegation from Iraq earlier visited Turkey to examine the border security systems that Turkey offered to provide, the official also said, adding that the discussions for security cooperation were still under way.

During a joint press conference with Erdogan on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said the two countries would cooperate to bolster border security, without mentioning the PKK specifically.

The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984 and is designated a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies. Turkey has conducted a series of cross-border operations against the group in northern Iraq since 2019.

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