MESOP NEWS : FINAL CALL ? – Turkish ambassador renews call for PKK to leave Shingal

By Rudaw 3 hours  – 9 Febr 2017 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkey would like to see Baghdad, with the help of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), take steps to rid the Shingal region of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters, Turkish ambassador to Iraq has said. “We want to see the same efforts deployed by the Baghdad government against the presence of PKK which has been nestled in the area for a long time. The PKK is exploiting some ethnic groups in the region,” Fatih Yildiz, Turkey’s ambassador to Baghdad recently told Anadolu Agency.

The ambassador added that the central government of Iraq and the KRG needed to work together to solve the problem, which Turkey deems as a threat to its border security.”This is a process that will require the involvement of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government due to the location of Sinjar,” Yildiz said, using the Arabic name for the area. “We want Iraq, as a whole, to take concrete steps to remove this threat from its own territory.”

The PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, has maintained a presence in the Yezidi town of Shingal and its outlying areas in the north of the Nineveh province . Shingal’s mayor, Mahma Khalil, said last month that the PKK has established a new Yezidi Special Units (YSU) and he urged the Kurdish guerrilla group to disband the armed Yezidi unit. The spokesperson for the Iraqi prime minister said last month that Baghdad and Erbil were working together to “enforce law and order” in the Yezidi town of Shingal and end the presence of armed groups in the area.

“There was an initial agreement between the federal government and the Kurdistan Region to form a joint force from the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga to extend control and enforce law and order in a comprehensive way in Shingal and the areas around it,” Saad al-Hadithi said, not specifying which armed groups would be the focus of this joint force. KRG leaders have for their part also called on PKK to leave Shingal. Kurdish President Masoud Barzani was asked about how the problems in Shingal should be settled. “[The Peshmerga] withdrew from [Kobani] when they finished the job. The PKK should do the same. In addition, the people of Shingal will decide themselves, and we have created conditions for them to make a choice,” Barzani said in January. “We and every other party should respect their decision. We will not in any way allow the PKK to impose their will on the people of Shingal.”