Turkish PM slams Clinton for comments on arming Syrian Kurdish forces

The war of words between Ankara and Baghdad escalated on Tuesday when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to "know his limits". Turkey is training anti-IS fighters to help retake Mosul from the Islamic State group.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday that Turkey's military presence in Bashiqa would continue despite the Iraqi parliament mislabeling Turkish troops in the country as "occupiers" earlier this week. It is not important for us you scream in Iraq.

The official said cancelling the vice presidential posts is tantamount to abolishing articles from the constitution, and such procedure will need amending the constitution by approval of the majority of the parliament members and referendum of the Iraqi people.

The spokesman for the US -led coalition helping the Iraqi military on Monday defended recent pronouncements that the operation to retake Mosul is imminent, saying the advanced warning gives civilians hope they will soon be liberated and encourages defections of extremist fighters.

The Turkish-Iraqi tensions risk complicating plans for an operation to save Mosul, which was captured by Islamic State militants in 2014.

Turkey-Iraq relations became strained after Ankara sent troops late previous year to the region of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, to train anti-IS fighters there - a move Baghdad has since labeled a "blatant violation" of its sovereignty.

Turkey's responses had made an issue of law and security into a "problem of a personal nature", Saad Al-Hadithi told AFP.

"You are not my interlocutor, you are not at my level, you are not at my quality", Erdogan hit back by saying.

US troops have been training Iraqi forces as part of the operation. An operation is expected in the coming weeks.

On August 24, the Turkish army with the support of US-led coalition aircraft launched the Euphrates Shield operation to clear Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh.

  • Joey Payne