Iraq FM: No Legal Basis for Turkey’s Offensive

Says Turkey can't claim Article 51 without Iraq's permission

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry has issued a statement critical of Turkey’s latest anti-Iraq offensive, saying Turkey is committing violations, and that they have no legal basis on which to carry out the offensive.

Ministry spokesmen seem to be basing this on the idea that Turkey has invoked Article 51 of the UN Charter and is claiming self-defense in invading Iraq to get the PKK. The Iraqis are arguing they can’t do this without Iraq’s permission, which they don’t have.

It’s not clear if that’s true or not. Iraq seems to be arguing that collective self-defense would need their involvement, but Turkey could be claiming individual self-defense. Either way, Turkey invades Iraq literally all the time.

Turkey claimed Iraqi approval for the offensive, though Iraq denied this. That Iraq is now questioning the legal basis is likely to fuel tensions between Iraq and Turkey, though it probably won’t do anything to stop the offensive.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.