Shafaq News/ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Iraq that Turkey would "clean up" Makhmur refugee camp that -according to Turkey- provides safe haven for Kurdish militants.
In an interview with the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) yesterday, Tuesday, Erdogan threatened to take Turkey’s long military campaign deeper inside Iraqi territory.
“Makhmur camp, 180 kilometres south of the Turkish border, and sheltering Turkish refugees for more than 20 years, was an incubator for the Kurdish militants, and had to be dealt with. If the United Nations does not clean up this refugee camp, we will do so as a Member State of the United Nations”. Said Erdogan.
“Ankara believes that Makhmur camp is a threat not less than that by the Qandil Mountains, the stronghold PKK fighters, located further north”, Erdogan added.
And over the past year, the Turkish forces have intensified their attacks on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases within the borders of Iraq's Kordistan region, and have focused their fire and incursions on a strip of territory up to 30 km (about 20 miles) inside Iraq.
A senior Iraqi official told Reuters that Turkey complained last week to Baghdad about "terrorist activities launched by the PKK from their camp in Makhmur against Turkey."
An Iraqi government spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It is noteworthy that the camp was set up in the 1990s when thousands of Kord people crossed the border from Turkey, in a move Ankara considered “was deliberately instigated by the KKP”.
In addition, PKK, which is classified by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist organization, has been in armed conflict with the Turkish State since 1984 in the country's predominantly Kurdish south-eastern region, and this conflict claimed more than 40,000 lives.
Turkish airstrikes targeted Makhmur camp a year ago, and there were no reports of deaths or injuries at the time, but a prominent Turkish official said targeting the camp was now “Ankara's priority.”
He added, “Makhmur camp used as one of the logistics centers for launching attacks on Turkey or on the Turkish Armed Forces... It’s time now, it has to be cleansed of PKK.”