The deployment of Turkish military to an area near the Iraqi border is related to the fight against terrorism and developments in Iraq, Turkey’s defence minister said on Tuesday. Fikri Isik also told broadcaster A Haber that Turkey has “no obligation” to wait behind its borders and will do what is necessary if militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) take a foothold in Iraq’s Sinjar region.
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Turkey’s armed forces have began deploying tanks and other armoured vehicles to the Silopi area of the southeastern Sirnak province near the Iraqi border, military sources said earlier. The deployment comes after President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey was aiming to reinforce its troops there, saying Ankara would have a “different response” for Shi’ite militia groups if they “cause terror” in the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.
Tal Afar, some 170 km (106 miles) from Silopi, is home to a sizeable ethnic Turkmen population with historic and cultural ties to Turkey. Sirnak province, where Silopi is located, is also one of the main areas of conflict between the Turkish military and PKK militants, who have bases in northern Iraq.
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