Iraqi Kurds: We ignore Turkish operations unless civilians targeted

October 28, 2011, Friday/ 00:00:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Iraqi Kurdish officials have said they will ignore Turkey's military operation in northern Iraq targeting outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) camps unless the Turkish military targets civilians.

Leader of the Iraqi Kurdish administration Massoud Barzani is expected to pay a visit to Turkey in mid-November at the request of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, administration officials told Today's Zaman.

Barzani and his administration have developed good relations with Turkey recently and this has been key to securing the Kurdish administration's support in Turkey's fight against the PKK. The Iraqi regional administration was previously opposed to Turkey's military operations in the region.

Sources have said Iraqi peshmerga forces are not participating in Turkish military operations in the fight against the PKK and ignore Turkish troops in the region as long as they don't target civilians. “We have no intention of sending any reinforcements to the site of the conflict on the border,” Jabbar Yawar, spokesman for the Kurdish peshmerga defense force, told McClatchy Newspapers on Oct. 20. He added that this was “because force is not the answer.”

The Iraqi Kurdish regional administration is pursuing a policy of not aiding the PKK, but avoiding a crackdown on the organization. But some reports claim that peshmerga forces frequently provide the Turkish side with intelligence regarding the PKK's hideouts.

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