US tries to defuse Iraq-Turkey war of words

The Myanmar Times - - World -

AS Turkey and Iraq traded in­sults over the Turk­ish troop pres­ence out­side Mo­sul, the United States urged its al­lies to re­solve the spat be­fore a ma­jor of­fen­sive on the city.

Iraq is pre­par­ing to fight to lib­er­ate Mo­sul from the Is­lamic State group with sup­port from the United States and a broad – though some­times frac­tious – coali­tion of in­ter­na­tional part­ners.

But re­cent prepa­ra­tions for the loom­ing of­fen­sive have been over­shad­owed by ten­sions be­tween Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and Iraq’s Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi.

Mr Abadi has re­peat­edly urged Turkey to with­draw troops de­ployed near the north­ern city in an area nom­i­nally part of Iraq but con­trolled by forces loyal to the coun­try’s au­ton­o­mous Kur­dish re­gion.

Mr Er­do­gan has re­fused, in­sist­ing that Turkey has a role to play in lib­er­at­ing the city from the ji­hadists, and with tem­pers ris­ing, both sides have re­sorted to in­sults.

In Wash­ing­ton, State Depart­ment spokesper­son John Kirby said the op­er­a­tion would be led by Iraq and that it was a mat­ter for Bagh­dad which forces should be de­ployed on its sov­er­eign ter­ri­tory.

“The Turk­ish forces that are de­ployed in Iraq are not there as part of the in­ter­na­tional coali­tion and the sit­u­a­tion in Bashiqa is a mat­ter for the gov­ern­ments of Iraq and Turkey to re­solve,” he said.

Ankara main­tains 2000 troops in Iraq, around 500 of them in the Bashiqa camp train­ing lo­cal fight­ers whom Turk­ish me­dia say will join the bat­tle to re­cap­ture Mo­sul.

“It is im­per­a­tive for all par­ties to co­or­di­nate closely over the com­ing days and weeks to en­sure unity of ef­fort,” Mr Kirby said as Ankara and Bagh­dad traded barbs.

Mr Abadi’s lat­est jibe was scripted to get un­der Mr Er­do­gan’s skin, mock­ing a des­per­ate video call he made to a tele­vi­sion sta­tion in July to prove he

was still alive dur­ing a mil­i­tary coup at­tempt.

“We will lib­er­ate our land through the de­ter­mi­na­tion of our men and not by video calls,” Mr Abadi’s of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count said.

Ear­lier, Mr Er­do­gan had sneered at Mr Abadi’s call for him to with­draw his force back to Turkey.

“It’s not im­por­tant at all how you shout from Iraq. You should know that we will do what we want to do,” the Turk­ish pres­i­dent said.

“Who’s that? The Iraqi prime min­is­ter. First you know your place!”

The Kur­dish pesh­merga forces that con­trol the area where Turkey’s troops are de­ployed are not un­der Mr Abadi’s com­mand, but they are ex­pected to play a key role in the up­com­ing bat­tle.

Photo: AFP

Pro-gov­ern­ment forces in Iraq’s eastern Sala­hed­din prov­ince, south of Haw­i­jah, clear the area in prepa­ra­tion for the push to re­take the north­ern city of Mo­sul, the last Is­lamic State (IS) held city in Iraq.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.