Turkish intelligence chief’s frequent Iraq visits raise questions

    Head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) Hakan Fidan met with the Iraqi Turkmen Front earlier in the week, raising questions among Iraq’s opposition politicians in combination with his visit in mid-September.

    Fidan’s visit to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region’s capital Erbil on Oct. 4, Tuesday, coincided with the killing of Kurdish feminist theorist Nagihan Akarsel in a shooting in the region’s Sulaimaniyah province, Kurdish-focused Medya News website reported on Friday.

    Iraq Coordination Framework, an opposition body made up of Shiite parties, called for an investigation, and a member of the framework Turki Cedan said the visit had been arranged without informing the Iraqi central government.

    Turkey and Iran are pursuing one-sided policies against Kurdistan and targeting women and children, news website Bianet cited Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) leader Lahur Talabany as saying. Talabany called on the “central government and international institutions” to take a stand against Turkey’s alleged shelling of civilian residential areas.

    The Turkish intelligence chief had held another visit to Iraqi capital Baghdad on Sept. 10, when he met with Iraq’s Sunni Sovereignty Alliance Chairman Hamis Hançer in Baghdad, according to an earlier report by Rudaw. The pair reportedly discussed Iraq’s ongoing political crisis and Turkey’s military operations in Iraqi territory against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it designates terrorist.

    In the same weekend Fidan also met with Iraqi President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi about Turkey demanding more support from the Iraqi government for its military incursions and operations, according to Fırat News.

    The Yazidi community in Iraq’s Sinjar region condemned Fidan’s visit at the time, saying it coincided with a Turkish drone strike in a village. No casualties were reported in the incident but witnesses say the drone targeted one car in particular. Iraqi deputy Arif Humami called for an investigation into Fidan’s meetings.

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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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