‘Know your limits’ Erdogan tells Abadi as Turkish troops advance in Iraq

Published October 12th, 2016 - 05:00 GMT
Tensions are growing between Turkey and Iraq ahead of the battle for Mosul due to the advance of Turkish troops in the area. (AFP/File)
Tensions are growing between Turkey and Iraq ahead of the battle for Mosul due to the advance of Turkish troops in the area. (AFP/File)

The fight against extremists in Iraq will soon involve Turkey's military, that country's leader said Tuesday.

Speaking at the 9th Eurasian Islamic Council in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will support coalition forces in trying to stamp out Islamic State insurgents in the contested city of Mosul -- despite a string of recent criticisms by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Al-Abadi has recently said the presence of Turkish forces near Mosul is illegal. Erdogan responded by suggesting the Iraqi leader is out of his depth.

"The Iraqi prime minister is insulting me. First, know your limits," Erdogan said. "You are not in my quality, my level."

Erdoğan also said his troops are near Mosul because the Iraqi government -- al-Habadi himself, in fact -- asked for their assistance two years ago.

"The Turkish military will enter Mosul," he added.

Erdoğan added that he has official records that document Iraq's request for assistance in 2014, when the troops first arrived at a training camp near the city.

"It is not important for us you scream in Iraq. We will go our own way," the Turkish president said during his address Tuesday.

"The army of the Republic of Turkey has not lost its standing so as to take instructions from you."

Al-Abadi's office responded Tuesday, saying Erdogan's remarks show a lack of respect for both nations' shared interests.

"Erdogan's remarks are irresponsible and reflect an exaggerated speech," spokesman Saad al-Haythi said. "We have come to the belief that Turkey is not keen on resolving any issues or withdrawing its troops from Iraqi territory.

"This could lead to a security threat in the Kurdistan Region, Iraq and the wider region in general."


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