Arab League Slams Turkey's 'Blatant Intervention' in Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil Elaraby on Monday called Turkey's deployment of hundreds of troops into northern Iraq a "blatant intervention", echoing international criticism on the decision by Ankara.
He told in an interview with the Al Youm El Sabea newspaper that while the Arab League couldn't take direct action against Turkey, they could release a statement condemning Ankara for the breach of Iraq's national sovereignty, Sputnik News reported.
Elaraby also warned that if Turkey continued to intervene in Iraqi territory without permission, then the Arab League would go to the UN Security Council to try to resolve the issue.
The furore comes after more than 100 Turkish troops, along with tanks and artillery, entered Kurdish-controlled territory in Northern Iraq.
Turkish officials said the deployment was merely part of a routine training exercise with Kurdish forces to help them fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL.
However, Iraqi officials angrily criticized Turkey's actions, saying that the move was a "serious breach of sovereignty."
With tensions rising, Baghdad on Sunday threatened to go to the UN Security Council unless Turkey removed its forces within 48 hours.
"Iraq has the right to use all available options, including resorting to the UN Security Council if these forces are not withdrawn within 48 hours," Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi echoed comments by the prime minister, saying that Turkey needed to consult with the Iraqi government, regardless of what their motives were in the fight against radical groups in the region.
"No matter the size of the force entering Iraq, it is rejected. It was possible to undertake this sort of prior coordination without creating circumstances which contributed to a crisis between the two countries," al-Obeidi said.
Turkey has come under serious international criticism over recent actions, including the shooting down of a Russian jet last month, which resulted in the death of one Russian pilot.
The incident sparked a rebuke from fellow NATO member states, and led Russian President Vladimir Putin to label Turkey as "accomplices of terrorists."