Experts in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have warned that the PKK terrorist group, which has been setting fires in markets in Erbil, Duhok and Kirkuk, aims to destabilize the region and create an atmosphere of fear to hinder the KRG’s development.

The recent attacks by the terrorist group, which has previously targeted KRG security forces and civilians multiple times, are aimed at damaging the region’s economy.

Hundreds of shops have been burned in the fires, resulting in significant financial losses.

Researcher and author Cemal Abdulla told Anadolu that the KRG government has good relations with Türkiye, which is why the PKK does not want stability to continue in Erbil.

Abdulla pointed out that the PKK has previously burned villages, hospitals and schools, killed teachers and kidnapped women.

“By setting markets on fire with these terrorist attacks, they have exposed the public to widespread fear. This is terrorism,” he added.

Abdulla emphasized that the PKK does not benefit from the KRG’s stability.

“Relations between the PKK and the PUK (the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two leading parties in the Iraqi Kurdish region) have reached a very high level,” he noted.

“The PUK claims they have no connection with those responsible for the fires. Why didn’t they make this statement a few months ago?”

– PKK aims to undermine KRG’s development

Journalist and author Serbaz Salih suggested that the PKK might carry out such terrorist acts because its space in the region is shrinking.

“The PKK is causing problems for the KRG government. With these attacks, they aim to incite the public against the government,” he said.

Salih noted that during the period of market fires, the KRG government was under severe economic pressure, and the terrorist organization’s attacks aim to deepen these problems.

Regarding the PKK’s terrorist activities in the region, he said it “specifically chose (to set on fire) Kayseri Bazaar (in Erbil) due to its historical significance and because it will draw more attention. One of the PKK’s objectives is to destroy stability in the KRG. The PKK’s terrorist attacks aim to create security issues and an atmosphere where foreigners cannot stay. The PKK seeks to create a security crisis and undermine the KRG’s development.”

On Monday, Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesperson Miqdad Miri had said the perpetrators of the recent fires in Kirkuk, Erbil and Duhok were PKK members. Miri said those arrested confessed to planning more fires in other regions.

Hemin Mirany, the director general of Diwan at the Ministry of Interior, said the perpetrators of the fires in Kirkuk, Erbil and Duhok were members of the PUK-linked Counter-Terrorism Group and Peshmerga military unit.

While shopkeepers at Erbil’s Kayseri Bazaar demanded the death penalty for the PKK terrorists who set fire to their shops, PUK spokesperson Saadi Ahmed Pira said his party had no connection with the PKK members arrested for the recent fires.

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