Er­do­gan to Abadi: ‘Know your place’

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

IS­TAN­BUL: Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan yes­ter­day snubbed Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi’s crit­i­cism of the pres­ence of Turk­ish troops in Iraq ahead of a planned op­er­a­tion to re­take Mo­sul city, urg­ing him to “know your place”. “He is in­sult­ing me per­son­ally. You are not my in­ter­locu­tor, you are not at my level,” Er­do­gan told a meet­ing in Is­tan­bul, in com­ments ad­dressed to Abadi. “It’s not im­por­tant at all how you shout from Iraq. You should know that we will do what we want to do,” he added. “Who’s that? The Iraqi prime min­is­ter. First you know your place!”

Tur­key has said its troops would re­main in Iraq de­spite Bagh­dad’s growing anger ahead of a planned op­er­a­tion to re­cap­ture Mo­sul from the Is­lamic State (IS) group. Ankara main­tains an es­ti­mated 2,000 troops in Iraq - around 500 of them in the Bashiqa camp in north­ern Iraq train­ing lo­cal fight­ers who will join the battle to re­cap­ture Mo­sul, ac­cord­ing to Turk­ish me­dia re­ports.

The Iraqi premier’s spokesman later yes­ter­day said Er­do­gan was “pour­ing oil on the fire” with his re­marks and showed Ankara was not se­ri­ous about re­solv­ing the dis­pute. Tur­key’s re­sponses had made an is­sue of law and se­cu­rity into a “prob­lem of a per­sonal na­ture”, Saad Al-Ha­dithi told AFP.

Bagh­dad has re­peat­edly called on Ankara to pull out its troops, with Abadi warn­ing the Turk­ish de­ploy­ment risked a re­gional war. The dis­pute be­tween Ankara and Bagh­dad flared up af­ter the Turk­ish par­lia­ment ex­tended a govern­ment man­date by one year, al­low­ing its troops to re­main on both Iraqi and Syr­ian soil. The Iraqi par­lia­ment has la­belled the Turk­ish troops an “oc­cu­py­ing force”.

Speak­ing to Mus­lim re­li­gious lead­ers from the Balkans and Cen­tral Asia, Er­do­gan said ob­jec­tions from Iraq wouldn’t stop Tur­key from par­tic­i­pat­ing in any op­er­a­tion to free Mo­sul and re­jected the Iraqi premier’s demand for a with­drawal. “The army of the Turk­ish repub­lic has not lost its qual­ity to a de­gree to re­ceive in­struc­tions from you,” he said.

The Turk­ish-Iraqi ten­sions risk com­pli­cat­ing plans for an op­er­a­tion to save Mo­sul, which was cap­tured by IS ji­hadists in 2014. The Turk­ish pres­i­dent has ex­pressed his coun­try’s will­ing­ness to join the battle un­der a sim­i­lar un­der­stand­ing it had reached for the re­cap­ture of Jarab­u­lus in Syria. Tur­key’s army has launched an am­bi­tious op­er­a­tion in Syria, back­ing op­po­si­tion fight­ers who re­cap­tured the town of Jarab­u­lus near the Turk­ish border from IS ji­hadists in Septem­ber.

Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim, mean­while, again warned that any op­er­a­tion to free Mo­sul shouldn’t lead to any de­mo­graphic change. Turk­ish is wor­ried that once Mo­sul is lib­er­ated from IS, Kurds or Shi­ite groups may take Mo­sul over and push out Sunni Arabs or eth­nic Turk­mens. “We have ex­plained to all of our friends that the op­er­a­tion planned for Mo­sul should be limited to re­mov­ing Daesh,” Yildirim said, us­ing an Ara­bic acro­nym for IS. “If you, af­ter re­mov­ing Daesh, at­tempt to change Mo­sul’s de­mo­graphic struc­ture, you will light the fire of a very big civil war, of a sec­tar­ian war. This is our warn­ing.” —Agen­cies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.