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Turkey’s president has warned that he could target a refugee camp, deemed an “incubator” for Ankara’s enemies, in the ongoing conflict against Kurdish militants – unless the UN cleans it up first.

Speaking late on Tuesday evening to Turkish state broadcaster TRT, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked how much longer Ankara should wait for the UN to eradicate militant groups from Makhmour, a camp 180km south of the Turkish border, in Iraq. 

“If the United Nations does not clean it up, we will do it as a UN member,” Erdogan said, adding that he believes Makhmour poses as big a threat to Turkey as the PKK’s stronghold in the Qandil Mountains further north. The president described the migrant camp as an “incubator” for militants which requires action.

According to a senior Iraqi official who spoke to Reuters, last week Turkey complained to Baghdad about “terrorist activities launched by the PKK from their camp in Makhmour against Turkey.” 

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The PKK, designated a terrorist group by the US and the EU, has fought against Turkey since 1984 in the mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, a conflict which has claimed over 40,000 lives.

Makhmour has existed since the 1990s, when Kurds in Turkey moved across the border into Iraq, a move Ankara said was provoked by the PKK. The camp has since hosted thousands of Turkish citizens, among others.

The camp also sits in the Erbil Governorate, near the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region. The Kurds were an important ally to the West and the US in the fight against Islamic State. The region still hosts a US military base.

Turkish airstrikes hit the camp in 2020, but there were no reports of casualties.

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Turkey’s president has warned that he could target a refugee camp, deemed an “incubator” for Ankara’s enemies, in the ongoing conflict against Kurdish militants – unless the UN cleans it up first.

Speaking late on Tuesday evening to Turkish state broadcaster TRT, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked how much longer Ankara should wait for the UN to eradicate militant groups from Makhmour, a camp 180km south of the Turkish border, in Iraq. 

“If the United Nations does not clean it up, we will do it as a UN member,” Erdogan said, adding that he believes Makhmour poses as big a threat to Turkey as the PKK’s stronghold in the Qandil Mountains further north. The president described the migrant camp as an “incubator” for militants which requires action.

According to a senior Iraqi official who spoke to Reuters, last week Turkey complained to Baghdad about “terrorist activities launched by the PKK from their camp in Makhmour against Turkey.” 

Also on rt.com
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (C) and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias (R) in Athens, Greece, May 31, 2021. © Aris Messinis/AFP
Bitter rivals Greece and Turkey agree on plan to boost economic ties, recognize each other’s Covid-19 vaccine certificates

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by the US and the EU, has fought against Turkey since 1984 in the mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey, a conflict which has claimed over 40,000 lives.

Makhmour has existed since the 1990s, when Kurds in Turkey moved across the border into Iraq, a move Ankara said was provoked by the PKK. The camp has since hosted thousands of Turkish citizens, among others.

The camp also sits in the Erbil Governorate, near the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region. The Kurds were an important ally to the West and the US in the fight against Islamic State. The region still hosts a US military base.

Turkish airstrikes hit the camp in 2020, but there were no reports of casualties.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

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