Tensions between Turkey and Iraq continue to rise, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced today that his country reserves the right to invade Iraq “if there is a threat posed to Turkey,” and that this would include a substantial number of ground troops.
Cavusoglu insisted that invading Iraq is Turkey’s “most natural right.” Turkey presently has about 500 troops in Iraq, which they’ve had for around a year. The Iraqi government has repeatedly demanded Turkey withdraw, but Turkish officials have insisted they will stay and participate in the war against ISIS.
This has been the main source of tension in recent weeks, with Turkey insisting that they are going to send ground troops into Mosul, and Iraq insisting they are unwelcome. Shi’ite militias have even suggested they will treat Turkish troops as enemy forces in the fighting around Mosul.
Turkey is now claiming that they believe the PKK is heavily involved in the fight against ISIS, and has designs on setting up a base of operations in the Yazidi city of Sinjar, threatening the military response to prevent a PKK presence there.