Iraqi defence minister arrives in Ankara for arms expo
The Iraqi defence minister arrived in Ankara late Wednesday for meetings with Turkish officials at the sidelines of a weapons exhibition, amid Turkey's escalating operations targeting the PKK in northern Iraq.
Defence Minister Juma Inad led a high-level delegation to the Turkish capital to participate in the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) - a four-day biennial event organised by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation.
The group was received by Ankara's deputy foreign minister, Muhsin Dere, according to a statement.
IDEF, one of the world's largest defence exhibitions, showcases military products developed by Turkish and international arms companies. Last year's events were closed to the public due to Covid-19 pandemic but tens of thousands of industry professionals attended, representing over 70 countries.
Iraqi government sources told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al Araby Al-Jadeed that they met a number of senior officials for talks focused on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq - a Kurdish insurgency group that Turkey has been fighting for decades.
The sources said that the Turkish officials pressured their Iraqi counterparts to clamp down on the PKK, citing past agreements between Baghdad and Ankara that stated Iraqi soil should not be used as a base for attacks on Turkey.
The Turkish officials stressed that Iraq's northern border should be bolstered with national forces, regardless of tensions between Baghdad and the regional Iraq-Kurdish government.
Turkey has recently ratcheted up airstrikes targeting the PKK and allied groups in Sinjar and other northern cities.
On Tuesday, suspected Turkish warplanes bombed a government building used by the Sinjar Resistance Units (SRU), causing an unspecified number of deaths and injuries, Iraqi security officials said.
That came after a car bombing killed a top leader in the SRU, Saeed Hussain, near a market in Sinjar on Monday.