Turkey completes 1st phase of anti-PKK Op Claw-Lock in N. Iraq

Turkish security forces have completed the first phase of the Claw-Lock counterterrorism operation against PKK terrorists in northern Iraq.

Defense Minister Akar said Wednesday that the first phase was completed successfully and there is no step back from the determined objectives.

As Akar stated, 30 PKK terrorists have been eliminated in the operation so far.

Turkey has no designs on another country’s land, but instead only wants to ensure the security of its borders and the stability of its neighbors, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday.

Erdoğan said that the new anti-terror operation across the border into northern Iraq, Operation Claw-Lock, aims to “rid Iraqi lands of terrorists and guarantee the security of our borders.”

“The Turkish Armed Forces launched this operation to clear the areas occupied in northern Iraq from terrorists,” said Erdoğan, adding that the area has been used by PKK terrorists to prepare and organize terror attacks on Turkish soil.

“We are making every effort to contribute to the strengthening of their territorial integrity and political unity so that our neighbors can live in security and peace,” said Erdoğan.

“We will continue to do so. We act with the same aim in Syria as in Iraq,” he added.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said late Tuesday that Turkey respects the territorial integrity of Iraq but cannot ignore the terrorism threat posed from the region against its borders and national security.

The minister once again called Iraqi authorities to take action against the PKK presence in their country.

The Turkish military launched a new ground and air counterterrorism operation against the PKK terrorists in northern Iraq, the Defense Ministry announced Monday.

The new operation, called “Operation Claw-Lock,” targets the terrorists in the Metina, Zap and Avashin-Basyan regions.

The group maintains bases in northern Iraq and has used the territory for attacks on Turkey. Turkey has conducted numerous cross-border aerial and ground operations against the PKK over the past decades.

The new operation comes on the heels of Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle launched by the Turkish army in northern Iraq in 2020. Operations Claw-Tiger and Claw-Eagle began in border regions of northern Iraq in 2020 to ensure the safety of the Turkish people and frontiers.

The PKK terrorist group often hides out in northern Iraq, just across Turkey’s southern border, to plot terrorist attacks in Turkey. The Turkish military regularly conducts cross-border operations in northern Iraq.

Turkey has long been stressing that it will not tolerate terrorist threats posed against its national security and has called on Iraqi officials to take the necessary steps to eliminate the terrorist group. Ankara previously noted that if the expected steps were not taken, it would not shy away from targeting terrorist threats.

President Erdoğan, who vowed to “clean up” parts of northern Iraq, accuses the PKK of using the mountainous border area as a springboard for its insurgency.

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