In comments broadcast on Iraqi state television, Prime Minister Hayder Abadi confirmed that his nation is “ready” for a full-scale military confrontation with neighboring Turkey, insisting Iraq doesn’t necessarily want war, but is prepared to deal with Turkey “as an enemy.”
The comments come just over a day after Turkey began massing tanks and artillery along the Iraqi border, which Turkish defense officials insisted were simply aimed to prepare for potential “developments in the region.”
The two nations have had testy relations for over a year, however, related to a number of Turkish ground troops deployed in Iraq without Abadi’s permission, and their refusal to leave. Turkish President Erdogan has claimed Turkey retains an interest in Mosul, whose loss to a League of Nations ruling in the 1920s they don’t recognize, and Erdogan has also warned that Abadi and the Iraqi government are not “at his level” where they can speak to him as an equal on the matter.
The US has been trying to keep the two nations at least civil for the sake of the Mosul invasion, but claims by Pentagon officials that the two had an agreement in principle to work together clearly never panned out, and tensions are still on the rise.
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