The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has released a statement announcing the creation of a new self-rule region in northern Iraq.
According to the statement widely covered by Kurdish media, the PKK declared “the autonomous region” in the Qandil Mountains. The statement says the declaration was made with “300 political figures” and vows that “the next step would be to elect an administration for the region and to start construction.”
The Iraqi government has not commented on reports yet.
The PKK increased its influence in northern Iraq following a failed attempt of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to use the September independence referendum to turn the KRG-held area into an independent Kurdish state. Now, the KRG faces a major internal political and social crisis. The PKK uses this situation to expand in the region.
The PKK declaration will also likely face a violent response from Turkey. Ankara sees the PKK as a terrorist group that thratens the Turkish national security and carries out airstrikes and operations against the Kurdish group on a constant basis.