As Turkey continues to pound the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) everywhere, the focus has become particularly intense on northern Iraq, where several PKK-held villages are being targeted, and reports are emerging of civilian deaths.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), the government of Iraqi Kurdistan, has issued a statement over the weekend calling for the PKK to withdraw all of its fighters from Iraqi territory “to ensure the civilians of Kurdistan don’t become victims of that fighting and conflict.”
The KRG, as well as Iraq’s central government, have both condemned Turkish airstrikes against northern Iraq as a violation of sovereignty, but there is no indication that Turkey plans on slowing down any time soon. They have been at war with the PKK for decades, and this latest round of attacks marks the end of a two-year ceasefire.
The KRG also seems irked at the PKK however, complaining that PKK forces had sabotaged the oil pipeline in northern Kurdistan. Iraq’s oil goes through that pipeline into neighboring Turkey, to a port on the Mediterranean. The money from that oil is hugely important to the KRG, and even if it hurts the Turkish government to attack it, the PKK risks alienating its allies by targeting the pipeline.