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POLITICS > Not Turkey, but others violate Iraq space: prime minister

ISTANBUL / ANKARA

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkey’s prime minister has dismissed reports of ongoing tension between Ankara and Baghdad after an alleged violation of Iraqi airspace, saying Iraqi officials are aware of the Turkish offensive in northern Iraq. 

“As you know, what we do is conduct aerial operations against terrorists [in northern Iraq]. I’ve been told [by some Iraqi officials] ‘We are not strong enough in the fight against terrorism.’ And we do what is necessary in case of an attack coming from [northern Iraq],” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters in Istanbul late July 19. 

Erdoğan’s statement came after Baghdad vowed to apply to the UN seeking condemnation of countries that violate Iraqi airspace, including Turkey. There were also unconfirmed reports that Iraq had closed its airspace to Turkish civilian flights as well. Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay denied these reports yesterday. 

Iraq has the primary responsibility for taking measures against terrorists based in its territories who commit deadly attacks against Turkey, in line with the trilateral mechanism between Turkey, the U.S. and Iraq, Atalay said, adding that Turkey will take the necessary measures if Iraq fails to do so. 
“We told Iraq and the U.S. that we would prefer for Iraq to stop these terrorist activities. If you [Iraq] do it, we’ll give priority to this. If not, then we’ll do it. Our military operations have been carried out based upon intelligence provided by [Iraq]. They are informed of our operations,” Atalay said. 

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has around 5,000 terrorists based in the mountainous parts of northern Iraq, from where they coordinate and carry out terrorist activities against Turkey. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and the EU. 

In addition to the airspace dispute, Ankara-Baghdad relations suffered another blow last week when Ankara entered into an oil trade agreement with autonomous northern Iraq without the permission of the central government in Baghdad. Without directly referring to this incident, Erdoğan said the source of unease was the fact that Baghdad is resisting granting the rights it promised to northern Iraq. “We wish to see a united Iraq,” Erdoğan said.

July/20/2012

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Thessalonian

7/20/2012 6:07:42 PM

How many times has Turkey violated Greek airspace in the recent years? Isn't a similar violation the reason why a Turkish jet was downed by Syrian ground forces all too recently? Lies, slander and double standards best describe Turkey's methodology and AKP's inane self serving foreign policy well known by its oxymoronic title as "zero problems with the neighbours." Mr. Erdogan's ability in keeping a straight face in view of such paradoxical controversy is indeed a mystery for many of us. Regards

mara mcglothin

7/20/2012 3:34:08 PM

Somethings will never change. There is such a double standard and a "rules were made to be broken" mentality in Turkey. Very sad.

two sides to every coin

7/20/2012 1:34:41 PM

So it is ok for TUrkey to sign contracts without going through the official Iraq government. Could you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot.

Nikos T.

7/20/2012 12:57:03 PM

Turkey didn't violate Iraq's airspace, as it didn't violate Syria's airspace, as it didn't start up fires in Greece etc... Lies lies and slander: Turkey's politics.

JRC JRC

7/20/2012 11:35:29 AM

And Erdogan accuses others of double standards.

Sam Steel

7/20/2012 9:48:58 AM

Great, so Syria should just notify Turkey and that makes it ok to then send troops to fight terrorists hiding on the Turkish side and using it as base to attack and slauter syrians?!!!
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