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Erdogan says Turkey will strike northern Iraq if Baghdad does not clear Kurdish militants

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during an election rally in Adiyaman, Turkey June 1, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will strike Kurdish militant camps in the mountains of northern Iraq in Qandil, Sinjar and Makhmur if the Iraqi central government does not clear the area of militants, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

Speaking in an interview with broadcaster CNN Turk, Erdogan said Turkey may strike Qandil “at any moment one evening.”

Turkey regularly carries out cross-border operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, where the group is based in the Qandil mountains. Ankara has also threatened to launch military operations in northern Iraq’s Sinjar region.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by James Dalgleish