Turkey's Erdogan says will not allow Iraq's Sinjar to become PKK base

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not let northern Iraq’s Sinjar region become a base for Kurdish PKK militants and will continue military operations there and in northern Syria “until the last terrorist is eliminated,” President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters on Tuesday.

“We are obliged to take measures. We must take steps. We shared this with the U.S. and Russia and we are sharing it with Iraq as well,” Erdogan said in an interview in the presidential palace in Ankara. “It is an operation that (Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud) Barzani has been informed about.”

Turkish planes bombed Kurdish fighters in Sinjar and in northeast Syria on Tuesday, in a widening campaign against groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Erdogan said he regretted the death of several members of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, also deployed in Sinjar, during the Turkish operation and made clear that Turkey’s action was “absolutely not an operation against the peshmerga”.

Reporting by Samia Nakhoul, Nick Tattersall and Orhan Coskun; Editing by Tuvan Gumrukcu