US envoy McGurk strives to block ‘historic’ Ovaköy border gate project
U.S. Envoy Brett McGurk set up a 'crisis desk' in Erbil, following Turkey and Iraq’s moves to cut the PKK-Peshmerga link
News ServiceYeni Şafak
Peshmerga forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) terrorists struggle to establish the map ordered by the United States and Israel in Iraq and Syria. However, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh Brett McGurk is now alarmed as the Iraqi and Turkish armies take control of the border gates opening to Turkey and Syria from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The United States and its allies set up an Erbil-based "crisis desk" after Iraqi forces restored the Rabia border crossing and advanced toward the Faysh Khabur borderline. McGurk, launching a shuttle diplomacy with French and British ambassadors to Baghdad, took action to hinder the Iraqi forces that progress towards the Semalka border crossing, where arms and ammunition are delivered to the PKK terrorists from Erbil.
Meanwhile, Baghdad and Ankara speeded up efforts to activate the Ovaöy-Baghdad trade route. Turkey and Iraq on Tuesday agreed on opening the Ovaköy border gate through Tal Afar. Western powers aim to prevent the activation of the new route, which will cut the connection between Erbil and al-Hasakah.
‘Turkey should not give up on the Ovaköy project’
In an exclusive interview with Yeni Şafak, Iraqi General Suphi Nazım Tevfik said that the strategy to establish a PKK-Peshmerga domain along the border is designated by powers with malicious plans, and the PKK and the Peshmerga are used as “pawns” in this strategy. “The masterminds behind the pirate state are always directing their local partners in every respect, but local agents have the power to foil their plans,” he noted.
Stating that positive relations between Turkey and Iraq should continue, Tevfik said that the 550-kilometer long Ovaköy-Baghdad route is crucial and added: “Turkey should never give up on this project.” He said that the trade route which will be created along Ovaköy-Zummar-Tal Afar-Mosul-Baghdad will be at least 10 kilometers in width and that this project will allow the oil drilled in places apart from Erbil to be transported to Turkey through this line.
‘Ovaköy-Baghdad route project will be historic’
The Iraqi general said that the Habur-Dohuk-Erbil-Baghdad route was of vital importance for KRG President Masoud Barzani and the Peshmerga. The Haj Omran gate on the border between Iraq and Iran was one of Barzani’s biggest revenues, he pointed out. “However, the referendum held on Sept. 25 revealed that Barzani was part of the plan to divide Turkey. Moreover, these border gates operated against Turkey in terms of smuggling and the permeation of terror elements through the border."
On Sept. 25, the KRG held an illegal referendum, voting on whether or not to declare independence from Baghdad.
"If a new route from Ovaköy to Baghdad is realized, this will be a historic project. If a strong bridge and a road is constructed on the Tigris River to cross from Faysh Khabur, both Iraq and Turkey will benefit from this," Tevfik concluded.