Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim speaks during a news conference in Afghanistan April 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
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Turkish forces are stationed 30 kilometers inside northern Iraq and could advance further to target Kurdish PKK militants in their Qandil Mountains stronghold, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.The prospect of a major military operation comes less than three months after Turkish forces drove Kurdish fighters from the Syrian border region of Afrin. Turkey says that Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in north Iraq are next in its sights, despite protests from the central government in Baghdad.Turkey already carries out regular cross-border airstrikes against the PKK in northern Iraq.President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday night if Iraq did not clear the region of PKK militants, Turkey would strike Qandil and the Sinjar area further west where it says the PKK is also concentrated.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Tuesday that Baghdad was ready to coordinate with Ankara to prevent cross-border attacks into Turkey, and said Turkish soldiers had been in northern Iraq since the 1980s.
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