Iraq PM Hits Back in War of Words With Turkey’s President

haider-al-abadi-2Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hit back on Tuesday against comments made by Turkey’s president, mocking his appeal to the nation via video call during a failed coup attempt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdğan told Abadi earlier in the day to “know your place,” and said that he is “not on my level” — another escalation in the war of words between the two sides over Ankara’s deployment of troops in Iraq’s north.

“We will liberate our land through the determination of our men and not by video calls,” Abadi’s official Twitter account said.

Abadi’s spokesman Saad al-Hadithi told AFP that Erdoğan, with his latest remarks, was “pouring oil on the fire,” adding that Turkey’s responses had made an issue of law and security into a “problem of a personal nature”.

“It seems that Turkey is not serious about solving the problem with Iraq,” Hadithi said.

Abadi has repeatedly called on Turkey to withdraw troops deployed near the northern city of Mosul, and said that they will not play a role in the operation to retake it from the Islamic State jihadist group.

Turkey has ignored these requests and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said last week that the country’s forces would stay “no matter what the Iraqi government in Baghdad says.”

The dispute has now lasted for almost a year, and was reignited by the Turkish parliament’s decision to extend a government mandate, thereby allowing Turkish troops to remain in Iraq.