Turkey, Iran Spar Diplomatically Amid Turkish Threats Over Iraq
(Bloomberg) -- Turkey and Iran called in each other’s ambassadors as Turkey threatens to attack Kurdish separatists on Iraq’s Mount Sinjar, an area used by Iranian militants to cross into Syria.
The diplomatic row follows a botched Turkish operation that resulted in the deaths of 13 hostages on Mount Gara in northern Iraq in February. Turkey said the captives were executed by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
Iran’s ambassador to Iraq called on Turkey to withdraw its forces from Iraq and avoid targeting Mount Sinjar, where PKK fighters settled after helping drive Islamic State out of the area.
Turkey now wants to drive the PKK ouf of Sinjar to sever their links to Syria, where affiliated militants are a dominant power within the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. That’s causing conflict with Iran because Iranian-backed militants use the area to cross into Syria.
Turkey summoned the Iranian ambassador to Ankara and condemned remarks by Tehran’s ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, who has accused Turkey of violating Iraq’s sovereignty with cross-border military operations, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said.
Iran, meanwhile, summoned the Turkish ambassador on Sunday and protested remarks by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, who recently said PKK militants were operating bases in northwestern Iran, according to Anadolu.
“What has Sinjar got to do with Turkey?” Masjedi said in a recent interview with Kurdish Rudaw TV. “This is an internal matter and the Iraqis themselves must resolve this issue.”
“We reject military intervention in Iraq and Turkish forces should not pose a threat to violate Iraqi soil,” he said, urging Turkey to withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Turkish Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz responded to Masjedi on Twitter.
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