TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A senior spokesman for the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces denied reports that Iran would approve of a potential Turkish military operation against Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.
In comments on Thursday, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi described as “inaccurate” the recent remarks by Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli that Iran would support a Turkish operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
In an interview with Anadolu news agency on Tuesday, Canikli had said, “Our offer to Iran was to carry out the operation together. Iran, in its remarks at least, has voiced very important support.”
Responding to the report, Brigadier General Shekarchi said, “Despite its support for any anti-terrorism measure, the Islamic Republic of Iran views a military campaign into the borders of a third country on the pretext of battling terrorism, without permission from the ruling and legal government of that (third) country, as an illegitimate action.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has been itself a victim of terrorism over the past four decades, but will never support the measures that violate the sovereignty of a state for countering terrorist groups,” the spokesman underlined.
The Turkish military has ramped up air strikes in northern Iraq targeting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in Qandil, close to the Iraq-Iran border, where high-ranking members of the militant group are thought to be located.
Ankara has also said Turkish troops have deployed roughly 30 km (nearly 20 miles) inside northern Iraq, not far from Qandil.