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Turkey will ‘never accept’ PKK's presence in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq/ANKARA

Turkey’s foreign minister said Saturday that Ankara will “never accept the presence” of the PKK terror group in Iraq.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said terrorism will never have a place in the future of the region and Iraq.

"Terrorist groups such as Daesh, the PKK and (its Syrian branch) the YPG also threaten regional security,” Cavusoglu said at an international conference in Baghdad. “We expect all friendly and neighboring countries to support our fight against this terrorist organization. We are ready to provide all kinds of support to the Iraqi state in its fight against this terrorist organization that poses a threat to Iraq's stability and violates its sovereignty."

The PKK terror group often uses bases in northern Iraq just across Turkey’s southern border to hide and plot terror attacks in Turkey.

Cavusolgu said Ankara will continue to support Baghdad to ensure the stability of Iraq, emphasizing economic cooperation and partnership between the two nations.

Regional actors should solve regional issues

Noting that political stability is indispensable for a successful fight against terror organizations, Cavusoglu said “Completion of the constitutional process plays a significant role in establishing political stability. Ensuring institutionalization and, thus, continuity in the state is also a great need.”

He said that Turkey will continue to support efforts to reinforce political institutions in Iraq.

Cavusoglu said he hopes that elections in Iraq on Oct. 10 will have a high rate of participation and take place in a peaceful environment, recalling that Iraq and Baghdad are important centers of Islamic civilization.

"It is a time to leave aside the differences between us and to focus on what we have in common. As peoples of the region, we know our problems the best and solve them ourselves," he said.

Arguing that foreign interference will not bring solutions to regional problems, Cavusoglu said: "Our public expects solutions from us, not from others."

He said he hopes the Baghdad conference will bring a new lease on life to regional talks.

"We can take significant steps to leave a beautiful heritage for generations to come," he added.

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