Iraqi PM says ready for war with Turkey, but does not want it

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Haider al-Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY

Speaking after Turkey’s deployment of troops to the Iraqi border on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Baghdad does not want to fight with Turkey but is prepared for it if it happens.

Abadi stated that any offensive by Turkey in Iraq would lead to the destruction of Turkey.
Relations between Turkey and Iraq have been strained for some time particularly due to the deployment of Turkish troops at a base in Bashiqa.

Although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly defended the presence of Turkish soldiers in Iraq, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu recently said that the camp in Bashiqa had become obsolete since its main aim was to train local forces to fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Erdoğan on the other hand had stated that the Bashiqa camp is a safety valve for Turkey against possible terror attacks.

Turkey’s desire to be involved in the Mosul operation against ISIL is another issue of tension between the two countries. Although Turkey sounds determined to participate in the operation, Iraq made its objection clear several times even after US Defense Secretary Ash Carter last week announced an agreement between Turkey and Iraq on the issue.

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