Turkey doesn't want Iraq to become battle zone: Çavuşoğlu

Turkey doesn't want Iraq to become battle zone: Çavuşoğlu

BAGHDAD-Anadolu Agency
Turkey doesnt want Iraq to become battle zone: Çavuşoğlu

Turkey does not want Iraq to become a battle zone of foreign forces, said Turkey's foreign minister on Jan. 9.

"We don't want Iraq to be the battle zone of thQe foreign forces,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a press conference along with his Iraqi counterpart in Baghdad, Iraqi capital.

He added that Iraq was not alone and Turkey was there to overcome difficult days together.

Çavuşoğlu's visit came amid heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran, starting with the killing of an American contractor at a U.S. base in Iraq late last month.

Iraqi top diplomat Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, for his part, affirmed that talks with his Turkish counterpart focused on the need to respect Iraq's sovereignty from all sides.

They also discussed bilateral relations at all levels in the meeting, he said, and added: "We cooperate with Turkey on counter-terrorism issue."

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a Jan. 8 statement that the visit is “within the context of our intensified diplomatic efforts to alleviate the escalated tension in the aftermath of recent developments in the region.”

Turkish top diplomat to visit Iraq amid tensions
Turkish top diplomat to visit Iraq amid tensions

The U.S. retaliated with airstrikes on the Iran-backed militia it says is responsible for conducting the attack, killing dozens. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was then attacked on Dec. 31, 2019 by a group of enraged militiamen and demonstrators.

U.S. officials have placed blame for the attacks on the U.S. Embassy and base squarely on the head of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) elite Quds Force, Qasem Soleimani's shoulders, claiming if the airstrike that killed him was not carried out hundreds more American lives would have been lost.

On Jan. 8, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Tehran had "concluded proportionate measures" in response to the U.S. killing of Soleimani, last week, adding that Tehran is not looking for a war with the U.S.