Policy Brief

PKK threats to the security of Turkmen in Iraq

After the terrorist attack of the PKK against Turkish soldiers in Northern Iraq in 2019 and then the dangerous terrorist attack that took place at the entrance of the General Directorate of Security in the capital Ankara on the opening day of the new legislative year of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on October 1, 2023, Ankara's fight against terrorism has gained a new dimension with Operation Claw. In this context, security meetings between Turkish and Iraqi officials have increased. The first security meeting between Türkiye and Iraq took place in Ankara on December 19, 2023, after the local elections in Iraq. Minister of Foreign Affairs Hakan Fidan, Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler, Director of the National Intelligence Organization İbrahim Kalın, and their Iraqi counterparts attended the meeting. One of the most important results of this meeting was the Türkiye-Iraq Security Summit held in Baghdad on March 14, 2024. At the summit, important issues such as the economy and energy, especially the issue of terrorism, were discussed. The most important item in the final declaration of the meeting was the Iraqi National Security Council's declaration of the PKK as a “Banned” organization in Iraq. Although Iraq did not explicitly declare the PKK as a “terrorist organization,” Türkiye welcomed Iraq's approach. It should be noted that the PKK, whose presence and influence in the remote areas of Northern Iraq have been greatly diminished following Türkiye's Operation Claw in the fight against terrorism, has recently been active in the residential areas in Northern Iraq. The disputed territories between the Iraqi central government and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), where Turkmen populations are densely populated, are among the enclaves that the PKK has been trying to penetrate.