Not too long ago, it was only three months ago when Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi issued harsh statements against Turkey. During Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s recent visit to Iraq, al-Abadi was constructive and is expected to visit Turkey in March or April.
Why did al-Abadi elevate the tension at that period? “The tension between Nouri al-Maliki
and al-Abadi was designed over Turkey. Al-Maliki orchestrated this. Al-Maliki has a group from al-Hashd al-Shaabi. Turkey opposes this. Al-Abadi knows of this situation but he is not very powerful in the parliament.”
The PM’s visit was aimed at eliminating Iraq’s concerns and removing the perception that Turkey would invade Iraq. Iran
that regards Iraq as its backyard is fueling the animosity toward Turkey. Iran
has camps in Iraq used by al-Hashd al-Shaabi but Turkey’s camp set up against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are shown as preparation for Iraq’s invasion.
To remove this perception, PM Yıldırım especially highlighted words such as “territorial integrity of Iraq and friendly settlement.”
For the joint statement, Iraq is reported to have suggested the phrase, “Bashiqa is an Iraqi camp.” This phrase was not objected to to show that Turkey respects Iraq’s territorial integrity; however, there is no date set for withdrawal from Bashiqa.
According to cabinet ministers who accompanied Yıldırım on the trip, “A perception has been formed in the Iraqi administration that the force we have deployed at the Turkish border town Silopi was to be used in the invasion of Iraq. We emphasized the territorial integrity of Iraq. This deployment, we explained, was for terror elements; that we were there for PKK
How much force do we have in Bashiqa?
“We have 790 troops. Up to now, we have trained 6,200 people from the Peshmerga and Nineveh forces. From them, 1,080 joined the Iraqi army.”
The Sinjar issue has been the most important second leg of the contacts in Baghdad and Erbil. The PKK
is trying to make Sinjar a second “Kandil.”
The Turkish delegation has suggested three options. One of them is for the Iraqi administration to conduct an operation; the second one is to conduct a joint operation and the third is that in case these two do not happen, then “we conduct an operation.”
Turkey is expecting an answer to this proposal. Due to the current circumstances, it is not expected that the Iraqi administration will conduct an operation on Sinjar. The Iraqi administration is paying 2,600 Yazidis the PKK
has trained under the name of Sinjar Resistance Units $450 a month and $810 to 311 PKK
members. The first step could be the cutting of this money.
Turkey is determined about Sinjar. If they do not withdraw, then a major operation against the PKK
in Sinjar in April or May might be conducted with the consent of the Iraqi administration.
The cabinet ministers also commented “Our entrance to al-Bab has spoiled the game of unifying the cantons. The disturbance stems from this. The U.S. has said ‘yes’ to the PYD, now they are trying to reverse. They are oscillating; they are confused.”
I asked them the accusations that the coordinates of the attack that killed our 14 soldiers were provided by the U.S. It was told in a precise tone that “coordinates were not provided by the U.S. We have reactions to the U.S. but we cannot do without the U.S. There are criticisms within the U.S. ongoing for a while that their wrong policies toward Turkey have made Turkey get close to Russia.”
While Turkey is advancing its relations with Russia, it also keeps an eye for the U.S. A restoration period has started in foreign policy.