Tehran Can Help Promote Turkey-Iraq Reconciliation

Kamal Dehqani FirouzabadiKamal Dehqani Firouzabadi

A lawmaker said Iran's friendly relations with both Turkey and Iraq and its high diplomatic capacity entitle Tehran to act as a good mediator between the two countries, whose escalated war of words in recent weeks has raised the risk of yet another military confrontation in the conflict-ridden West Asia.

Kamal Dehqani Firouzabadi, deputy chairman of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in a Saturday talk with ICANA.

The spat between Turkey and Iraq started early October, with Turkish leaders saying the country must take part in the large offensive to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group.

Iraqi officials refused any Turkish role in the offensive and last week, the Iraqi Army and its allies launched the long-awaited operation to wrest control of Mosul, the last stronghold of IS in the Arab country.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called for the withdrawal of Turkish forces from a camp in Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul.

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded to Abadi's criticism by saying that he should "know his limits" and "we will go our own way". Not surprisingly, Iraqi statesmen are livid.

Ankara deployed troops and tanks to Bashiqa last December, a move that Iraq said was without its permission and a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

But Turkey has refused to pull them out, claiming the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Iraqi Kurdish forces in the fight against IS.

  Unnecessary Tensions

However, last Wednesday, Turkey's top diplomat welcomed announcement by Iranian officials that they are ready to help settle differences between Turkey and Iraq.

Mevlut Cavusoglu said "Turkey wants friendly relations with all of its neighbors" and the Bashiqa deployment has created "unnecessary tensions", thanking Iran for taking positive steps to mend relations between Turkey and Iraq.

The remarks came after last Sunday's announcement by Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy advisor to the Leader of Islamic Revolution, that Tehran is ready to mediate between Turkey and Iraq to prevent the ignition of a new war in the region.

Firouzabadi said Tehran understands Turkey's concerns over its security and stability, but Ankara's current behavior in the region will lead to escalations and even military conflicts, further endangering calm in Iran's western neighbor.

"Any violations of sovereignty of regional countries [Iraq and Syria] can result in threats against sovereignty of violators," he said, pointing to a Turkish military campaign inside Syria.

Turkey announced in August that it has engaged in an operation called Euphrates Shield inside Syria to clear its borders of IS and Kurdish militants.


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