Turkish FM rebukes Iraqi PM’s ‘invasion’ remarks
DHA PhotoForeign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu slammed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s remarks about an alleged “invasion,” a day after Turkish tanks were deployed to Turkey’s southeastern border with Iraq.
“There is no stronger supporter [of Iraq] than Turkey, which wants Iraq to protect its territorial integrity and its independence. Iraq’s security and stability are as important as ours,” Çavuşoğlu was quoted as telling reporters in the resort city of Antalya on Nov. 2 by state-run Anadolu Agency.
He added that while Turkey backs Iraq’s independence and stability, he would not comment “on other countries’ provocations.”
Al-Abadi on Nov. 1 warned Turkey against provoking a confrontation, while stressing that he does not want war.
“The invasion of Iraq will lead to Turkey being dismantled,” AFP quoted al-Abadi as saying in a televised news conference on Nov. 1.
“We do not want war with Turkey, and we do not want a confrontation with Turkey. But if a confrontation happens, we are ready for it. We will consider [Turkey] an enemy and we will deal with it as an enemy,” al-Abadi added.
The Turkish Armed Forces began deploying tanks and other armored vehicles from the Ankara-based 28th Mechanized Infantry Brigade to Silopi in Şırnak near the border with Iraq, Anadolu Agency reported on Nov. 1, three days after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would reinforce its troops along its border.
Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Nov. 1 that the deployment was part of Ankara’s preparation for “important developments in the region,” referring to the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) inside the country and events in Iraq.
It is the latest escalation in a protracted dispute between Baghdad and Ankara that has seen repeated calls from Baghdad for Turkish troops to be withdrawn, and Ankara continuing to be insistent in being part of the Mosul operation.
Çavuşoğlu also questioned Iraq’s strength to fight terrorism.
“If you [Iraq] have the power, why did you leave Mosul to terrorist organizations in the first place?” the foreign minister asked. “Why has the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK been invading your lands for years?”
He criticized the Iraqi prime minster for “not being able to cope with terrorist organizations, while trying to bully and being rhetorical.”
He said Turkish officials had earlier declared Turkey would take measures in the interest of its security. “We are taking these measures now,” he added.