No evidence Turkey wants to fight Daesh: Iraqi PM
The Iraqi prime minister has cast doubt on Turkey’s willingness to combat Daesh terrorists, saying Ankara should focus on fighting the Takfiri group instead of targeting its Kurdish population.
Haider al-Abadi said in an interview with CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday that Turkey viewed the Kurdish population within its border as a greater problem than Daesh.
“The Turks are telling us otherwise, (that) they’re eager to fight Daesh. But I’m telling them frankly, I’m not seeing evidence of that. I hope to see more evidence of that,” Abadi said.
The Iraqi premier further urged officials in Ankara to take Daesh threats seriously and “shift their priority from considering the Kurds as their problem” to battling the Takfiri terror group, which has seized swathes of land in Iraq and neighboring Syria since 2014.
Abadi also expressed Baghdad’s willingness to improve relations with Ankara, but made clear that Turkey’s extension of its troop deployment to Iraq was “not helpful at all.”
Last month, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh province.
Ankara claimed that its troops had been deployed in northern Iraq to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters against Daesh.
Abadi has said Turkish troops deployed to northern Iraq were causing a “lot of tension,” adding there was no reason for their deployment deep inside the Iraqi border.
Turkish warplanes routinely carry out attacks on what they claim to be Daesh targets in northern Iraq. The raids have repeatedly drawn an angry reaction from Baghdad, which has denounced Ankara for violating the country’s sovereignty.