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President Barzani: Erbil will remain neutral in Iraq-Turkey row over troops

By Rudaw 8/12/2015
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. AFP Photo.
Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani. AFP Photo.

ERBIL, Kurdistan – Kurdish President Masoud Barzani said Tuesday that Kurdistan will remain neutral in a row between Baghdad and Ankara over Iraqi objections to Turkish troops training Peshmerga forces near Mosul.

"Before, there were agreements between Turkey and Baghdad and local authorities of Mosul over training (Sunni) Arab volunteers to be well-prepared for an anticipated battle for Mosul," Barzani told Rudaw.

"The Kurdistan region is not part of the problem. I will discuss this topic in Turkey tomorrow and we will also talk to Baghdad," he added. "If Turkish troops came to fight ISIS, it would be good."

Barzani is scheduled to visit Turkey Wednesday to meet top Turkish officials to discuss the war and current regional issues.

On Saturday, Turkey revealed it had been training Peshmerga forces in four provinces in Iraq, after Baghdad disclosed that fresh forces had been sent into Iraq without consultations with the central government.A new force of some 150 trainers was relieving the previous team, it said.

On Sunday, Baghdad gave Turkish 48 hours to withdraw the forces.

A Peshmerga official said there was reason to expect hostilities to break out between Turkey and Iraq after the expiration of that ultimatum.

“Iraq will probably turn to the United Nations to file a complaint against Turkey than use military force to evict the Turkish force stationed in Bashik now," said Brig. Gen. Hazhar Omer, a Peshmerga official.

He told Rudaw it was not the first time Turkish troops had entered Iraq, and that "many Turkish military advisers used to train the Peshmerga in Sulaimani and Erbil.”He said they had also trained the Hashd al-Wataniya volunteer Sunni militia a while back as part of the training for the Mosul police."

Turkish-Iraqi rivalries are more political than military," he added.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday that Ankara would not withdraw its troops, ignoring the Iraqi ultimatum.

“The existence of Turkish troops in Iraq is just like the other countries to provide training,”he said.“There is no other secret reason behind this, because we have sent the troops at the request of the Iraqi defense ministry.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidear al-Abadi said in a statement earlier this week that Iraq has all the right to use all means against Turkey, including calling on the UN Security Council, if Turkish forces do not withdraw from Iraq within the given 


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Reality | 8/12/2015
This half-ling was the architect of 31 AB, is anyone surprised by this?
Freedom or Nothing | 8/12/2015
If the KRG Kurds side with the Turks (which they have no choice but to deal with a neighbour) to go against Baghdad, they will succeed .. The world needs Turks to fight Daesh and Arab behavior .. Once that happens, Kurds will continue pumping oil through Turkey .. No other choice for Kurds to gain autonomy ... Kurds need Kurdish/Turkey pipeline to survive.. Whether you like it or not, the Kurds are surrounded by 4 enemies but you need to deal with the Neighbours.. At the end of the day, it's Arabs and Daesh (Arab majority) causing majority Middle East war and problems
Muraz Adzhoev | 8/12/2015
President-Commander-in-Chief Barzani should act decisively and strongly in political, economic and military favor of the national interests of the People and the State of de-facto sovereign and independent Southern Kurdistan, and in order to provide overwhelming political, economic and military help and support to the People of Western Kurdistan as soon as possible. Southern Kurdistan and Western Kurdistan must be reintegrated to let the Kurdish People establish its sovereign democratic and secular multinational and multicultural Federative Kurdistan. That is the reasonable peaceful political offer of the Kurdish nation to be addressed to Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran and the whole world. The Kurdish nation does not insist on Greater Kurdistan and is not going to destroy unity and sovereignty of Turkey and Iran. But the world community must admit now and at last that Iraq and Syria are dead countries already due to their fully failed criminal regimes and governments.
Ward | 8/12/2015
@ freedom of nothing : This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Kurds, but everything with the fact the Turks are going to end up crushed by Russia. Putin is playing chess with Erdogan, and Gollum will not prevail. Time will show ...
John Epek | 8/12/2015
Mr Barzani, Please don't trust Turks. They will stab you in the back. Unite the Kurds should be your top priority. If the Kurds are united they could accomplish greatness. We need good (young and old) leaders to represent all Kurds for Kurdistan not for personal gains.

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