Iraq’s Foreign Ministry may have thrown a monkey wrench into ongoing peace talks in neighboring Turkey today, announcing that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is not welcome in Iraqi territory.
The PKK is in talks to end a multi-decade war with Turkey, and has been called on to withdraw its armed fighters into Iraqi Kurdistan to help facilitate the ceasefire, which began in March.
The offer to allow the PKK in came from Iraqi Kurdistan’s own government, but the central government isn’t keen on thousands of additional fighters entering Kurdistan at a time when they have ongoing territorial disputes with them.
It remains to be seen whether the foreign ministry’s statement will actually stop the flow of PKK fighters across the border, and indeed Iraqi Kurdistan has regularly ignored Baghdad’s demands to implement its own policies. With many in the Kurdish government believing a showdown with the Iraqi Army is inevitable, they may decide that the additional fighters could be a valuable auxiliary to the Peshmearga.