Turkish Military Presence in Iraq Criticized

Turkish Military Presence in Iraq CriticizedTurkish Military Presence in Iraq Criticized

A senior advisor to Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Iran opposes the meddling of any country in the internal affairs of other states.

In an interview with the Al-Alam television news network on Sunday, the Leader's advisor on international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, criticized Turkey's military presence in Iraq, which is claimed by Ankara to be aimed at participating in the ongoing Iraqi military operation to retake the strategic northern city of Mosul from the self-styled Islamic State terrorists.

"Iran opposes interference by any country, including Turkey or others, in the internal affairs of another country," he said, adding that the domestic affairs of any country are its own concern.

Velayati noted that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has also reiterated that his country has not asked for Turkey's military presence in Iraq. The Iranian official rejected claims that Iran is interfering in the affairs of Iraq and said Tehran only provides Baghdad with military consultation at the request of the Arab country's government.

Velayati urged all regional countries, including Turkey, Iraq and Syria, to respect each other's territorial integrity, warning that otherwise "no country would be safe from other countries' interference".

Thousands of Iraqi Army soldiers, fighters from pro-government Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces are taking part in the military operation to retake Mosul, the last major stronghold of IS in the Arab country, from the terrorists. Turkey is adamantly insisting that it wants to play a military role in the recapture of Mosul despite Iraq's opposition, triggering a serious diplomatic row between the two neighbors. Ankara has deployed troops to a base near Mosul, claiming that they are there to train Kurdish militants for the battle against IS.

Addressing a forum of Muslim scholars and politicians in Baghdad on Saturday, the Iraqi prime minister called on Turkey and Saudi Arabia to stop interfering in the domestic affairs of his country.

"We want the good of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, provided that they do not interfere in the domestic affairs of our country," he said.

Abadi stressed that Turkey has sent troops without the Iraqi government's request and emphasized that Ankara is not battling IS but is trying to expand its outreach.

The Iraqi premier emphasized that Ankara did not help Baghdad when it was requested.


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