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Turkey to discuss 'common understanding' on security with Iraq

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Senior Turkish officials will discuss security issues, particularly Turkey's operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, with their counterparts in Baghdad on Thursday, a Turkish defence ministry official said.

Hakan Fidan in Baghdad on Thursday

Senior Turkish officials will discuss security issues, particularly Turkey's operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, with their counterparts in Baghdad on Thursday, a Turkish defence ministry official said.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Defence Minister Yasar Guler, and intelligence chief Ibrahim Kalin are set to hold talks with Iraqi counterparts in Baghdad in a "security summit".

"Turkish and Iraqi officials held a security summit in Ankara in December. Today, they'll hold the second such summit. They'll discuss developing a common understanding on the fight against terrorism," the defence ministry official told reporters.

Ankara has ramped up cross-border operations against the PKK which is based in northern Iraq's mountainous regions, and warned of new incursion to the region.

The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the insurgency.

The conflict was long fought mainly in rural areas of southeastern Turkey but is now more focused on the mountains of northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, where PKK militants are based.

Iraq has said the operations violate its sovereignty, but Ankara says it is protecting its borders.

The defence ministry official also said that officials from the Turkish army held talks with Iraqi counterparts over the weekend to discuss "measures to increase security of the civilians" in the region where Turkey is conducting operations.

Turkey has, since 2019, conducted a series of cross-border operations in northern Iraq against the PKK, dubbed "Claw".

Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever

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