Tension Mounting between Turkey, Iraq

Tension is mounting between Turkey and Iraq as the two countries’ leaders are exchanging jabs about the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq ahead of a planned operation to retake the city of Mosul.

The verbal exchange climaxed Tuesday, with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejecting the calls for withdrawal launched by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

“The army of the Turkish republic has not lost its quality to a degree to receive instructions from you,” Erdogan said to the attention of Abbadi, according to the Middle East Online.

About 2,000 Turkish troops are stationed in Iraq, including around 500 in the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq.

The Turkish soldiers in Bashiqa are training local fighters who will join the battle to recapture Mosul, according to Turkish media reports.

Baghdad has repeatedly called on Ankara to pull out its troops that it calls “occupying force”, warning their presence might trigger a regional war.

However, Ankara is turning a deaf ear to Baghdad’s calls, especially after the Turkish parliament extended by one year a government mandate, allowing its troops to remain on both Iraqi and Syrian soil.

The Turkish-Iraqi tensions risk complicating plans for an operation to save Mosul, which was captured by IS jihadists in 2014, states the Middle East Online.

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