Turkey’s Erdogan to Iraqi PM: ‘Know your place’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday 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, asking 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.
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.”
Erdogan today rejected the Iraqi premier’s demand for a withdrawal.