World Bulletin / News Desk
Relations between Baghdad and the Erbil-based Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) have remained tense since an illegitimate Sept. 25 referendum on Kurdish regional independence.
Following the poll, Iraqi federal forces moved into parts of Iraq “disputed” between Baghdad and the KRG, including the oil-rich Kirkuk province.
Peshmerga forces had seized control of military bases and oilfields in Kirkuk in 2014 following clashes with the Daesh terrorist group.
Federal forces are now in full control of Kirkuk's Bai Hassan and Baba Gurgur oil facilities, which were seized by the Peshmerga following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
Following last year’s ill-fated referendum, Baghdad imposed other punitive measures on Erbil, including a ban on international flights into and out of the Kurdish region and the closure of the region’s international border crossings.
“The consolidation of relations between Baghdad and Erbil within a single, unified Iraq is in Turkey’s interest,” Yildiz told Anadolu Agency.
Yildiz added that Turkish military operations remained underway against PKK terrorist elements in northern Iraq, “but there are no Turkish military activities in Mosul’s Sinjar district”.
“The Iraqi army is conducting special security operations with a view to regaining full control of Sinjar and its environs,” he asserted.
On Saturday, units from the Iraqi army’s 15th Brigade began to deploy in parts of Sinjar from which PKK terrorists had withdrawn, according to the Iraqi army’s Joint Operations Command.
In late 2015, Peshmerga forces captured Sinjar from the Daesh terrorist group, which had overrun the district one year earlier.
However, PKK elements have also remained in Sinjar since 2014 on the pretext of fighting Daesh.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, has repeatedly said that Turkey would not allow Sinjar to become a PKK stronghold.