Turkish defense minister: PUK repeatedly warned over relationship with PKK
Turkey's defense minister Yasar Guler said that the leadership of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) "has constantly been warned over its relationship with terrorist groups" but these warnings have been ignored.
"[PUK leader] Bafel Talabani has constantly been issued warnings concerning the surge in terrorist activities in Sulaymaniyah. He has been told, 'Please sever ties with terrorist groups or it will definitely not end up well for you.' And this is actually what happens. We monitor and know what they're engaged in, we know about all their activities. We naturally share our intelligence with our friends in Iraq and in KDP [Kurdistan Democratic Party]. We try to refrain from taking more severe measures. These have been conveyed clearly many times, but no one has taken notice and showed a change of attitude."
Sulaymaniyah province in Iraqi Kurdistan is under the political and military control of PUK, one of the two major political parties in the region and the main rival of the ruling KDP.
The province has in recent months become target to Turkish attacks as Turkish officials claim that it has turned into a hotbed for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated a "terrorist group" by Ankara.