Iraqi Turkmen call for ‘immediate’ PKK withdrawal from Mosul and Shingal

Several Turkmen political parties and groups in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq have released a statement calling on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to “immediately” withdraw from Mosul and Shingal (Sinjar).

The statement, released Sunday, said groups like the PKK pose “security threats and pave the way for instability and conflict in the region,” Turkish state news agency AA, reported.

“All armed groups in the region should be under the KRG’s order and act in line with our security system.”

The joint statement was signed by parties and groups affiliated to the Turkish government under the banner of Iraqi Turkmen Front, including the Turkmen Development Party, Turkmen Democratic Party, Turkmen Liberal Association, Turkmen Salvation Party, Turkmen Democratic Movement, Turkmen People’s Party, and Turkmen Culture Association.

AA also reported that the PKK sees the deployment of Kurdish Peshmerga forces near Shingal – which lies close to the Iraq-Syria border – as an “immediate threat.”

Clashes broke out between Syrian (Rojava) peshmerga forces allied to the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and local Yazidi Shingal Resistance Units (YBS) fighters trained by the PKK on 3 March after 500 peshmerga arrived in the Khanasor district of Shingal.

KDP officials of the KRG called the deployment a routine measure and said the force were sent to the area for border protection. The KRG Peshmerga Spokesperson said their forces “do not have to get permission from any group and can move freely in the region.”

However the PKK and YBS have refuted this claim saying the deployment had come on Turkish orders to “invade Shingal” and “suffocate the Rojava revolution.”

The US has also called on the PKK to withdraw from Shingal, an area still under contention between the KRG and Baghdad, but administered by the KRG. The PKK and YBS have called for an autonomous status for Yazidi homeland.

Other Kurdish parties, including the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and Gorran (Change) Movement, have called for calm and dialogue to resolve the issue.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front recently objected to the raising of the KRG flag in Kirkuk, a city it has contested control for.