Baghdad has previously called for the expulsion of both the PKK and illegal Turkish troops present in Iraq.
The Turkish and Iraqi governments agreed on a roadmap to improve ties during bilateral talks on 19 December, focusing on the expulsion of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from Iraq, Turkish media reported.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein traveled to Turkiye on Tuesday and met with his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan and other officials.
“The two neighbors discussed their bilateral ties and a common threat: the PKK terrorist group,” Daily Sabah wrote on 20 December, adding that the talks were “dominated by the PKK threat.”
“The Iraqi side highlighted the importance of expelling PKK from Iraqi soil where it threatens the country’s sovereignty. Ankara emphasized any assistance to fight against terrorism,” it added.
Turkish newspaper Hurriyet cited diplomatic sources as saying “that the Iraqi side wants the PKK to be cleared from its territory.”
A six-article joint declaration was issued in the presence of military and intelligence officials.
“As a result of these meetings, the two sides agreed to improve the relations in all fields further and run them comprehensively and institutionally. They have expressed their joint political will to this end,” the declaration said.
“The importance of Iraq’s political unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity has been expressed jointly by the two sides, which have also raised — in the framework of the bilateral security cooperation — the threats by the PKK to the region.”
The PKK is known to operate in northern Iraq’s mountainous regions. Turkish airstrikes regularly target Kurdish militants in the north of Iraq in complete violation of the country’s sovereignty.
Baghdad has repeatedly condemned Turkish violations of Iraqi sovereignty.
In September, a Turkish drone strike hit Iraq’s northern city of Sulaymaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, killing several, including members of Iraq’s counterterrorism service.
Iraqi army spokesman Yahya Rasoul said at the time that Baghdad “reserves the right to put an end to these violations.” Turkish strikes on Iraq have resulted in many civilian casualties, including a strike on a tourist resort that killed nine last year.
Baghdad has previously expressed the need to expel both the PKK and Turkish military forces who are illegally present in the country.