Just weeks ahead of an expected push led-by Iraqi troops to retake the ISIL-held city of Mosul and tensions have risen between Turkey and Iraq.
Ankara wants “in” on the battle and refuses to leave a military base near Mosul where its soldiers have been training a multi-ethnic force for the fight.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi wants them to go but Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reacted angrily.
“He’s (Iraq’s prime minister) is insulting me. You’re not even my interlocutor. You’re not at my level. You don’t have the same value. You don’t have the same quality. You screaming and shouting from Iraq is of no importance to us. You should know that we’ll be going our own way (meaning we’ll do what we want). Who’s this? Iraq’s prime minister. Iraq’s prime minister. First of all, know your place.”
Turkey sees the battle for Mosul as an extension of its fight against terrorism and fears that ousting Sunni- based ISIL will leave a vacuum which Kurdish forces could fill.
However the Shi’ite-led government of Baghdad is protective of its own sovereignty – something which Washington has told Ankara it must respect.