Following last week’s condemnation of Turkish military deployments into Iraq, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be digging in even more, insisting that Turkey will leave those troops in Iraq no matter what.
Turkey’s deployment into Iraq earlier this month was presented as a “training” operation aimed at Kurdish Peshmerga forces. They claimed the Iraqi government had approved the deployment, though Iraq insists that is not the case. They have since promised to redeploy to Kurdish territory.
The Arab League insisted the deployment is a threat to Iraqi sovereignty, even if the troops are sent into Iraqi Kurdistan, while Erdogan says the troops are vital to preparing the Kurds to fight against ISIS.
Erdogan went on to condemn Iran and Russia for backing the Assad government against ISIS, saying if they hadn’t done so, “we would not be discussing an issue like Syria.” Turkey too was an ally of Syria before the civil war, but ditched them almost immediately, endorsing regime change in the hope that Arab nationalists would tamp down Kurdish secessionism in northeast Syria. This proved incorrect, as northeast Syria is now effectively an independent Kurdish state.