If Turkey is not occupying Iraq, what are they doing? Squatting?
It's a question to ponder as the issue continues to heat up.
Iraq's Parliament has labeled the Turkish troops "occupiers," the Shi'ite militias have done similarly and called for them to leave, the Iraqi Foreign Affairs Ministry has issued a statement declaring them same. All week this has been building up since, at the start of this month, Turkey's Parliament decided Turkish troops would be staying in Iraq for another year.
ANADOLU AGENCY reports that earlier today Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus declared at a press conference that the Turkish military is not "occupiers" and, not content merely to reject that label, he also throws out an insult insisting, "If Iraqi government officials had to react, where were they when Mosul and Raqqa were occupied by [the Islamic State] in one day?"
Dropping back to Tuesday's snapshot for context:
ALSUMARIA reports that Parliament is calling for the expulsion of the Turkish Ambassador and for Iraq to cut all economic ties with Turkey. This is in response to Turkey's Parliament voting earlier this month to extend the Turkish military's mission in Iraq by one year.
This move follows Monday's statement from Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs which rebuked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his statements that Turkey would take part in the liberation of Mosul.
Turkey shares a border with Iraq, northern Iraq.
Turkey has a history of suppressing Kurds which has led to various groups of rebels/freedom fighters arising over the years. The PKK is the most famous or infamous. It's a group of Kurds that have been waging war on the Turksih government since the 80s in a fight for Kurdish rights.
Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."
Kurds are throughout the Middle East.
In Turkey, they live under a system of apartheid.
In Iraq, they tend to live in the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq.
The Turkish government has long feared that the KRG might move from semi-autonomous to autonomous -- the fear being that an independent land for Kurds would inspire Kurds outside of Iraq and fuel independence movements.
Despite this fear, the post-2003 invasion Iraq period has seen the Turkish government being much closer to the KRG than to the central Iraqi government based in Baghdad.
Under Nouri al-Maliki's terms as prime minister (2006 -2014), for example, Turkey was accused of helping to steal Iraqi oil and backing terrorists.
Nouri did approve, however, of Turkey bombing northern Iraq.
Turkey has declared that its war planes bomb PKK terrorists.
The reality is that many farms in northern Iraq have been destroyed and many civilians have been left dead and injured.
In the fall of 2014, Haider al-Abadi became prime minister.
He has objected to the bombings carried out by Turkish airplanes as have various other Iraqi officials; however, the US State Dept has pronounced these bombings necessary and that apparently means the end of the story.
The announcement that Turkey would extend its Iraq mission for another year has kicked off the latest round of disagreements.
Iraq has made clear that it does not want Turkish troops on the ground in Iraq.
The message has not been received by the Turkish government.
Humeyra Pamuk and Daren Butler (REUTERS) notes that Turkey's is calling the reaction "incomprehensible."
Others do not see it that way.
REUTERS reports, "Iraq has requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the presence of Turkish troops on its territory as a dispute with Ankara escalates."
Meanwhile ALMASDAR NEWS states, "The Spokesperson for the Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Council, Lt. Colonel John L. Dorrian, stated on Wednesday that the Turkish Army in northern Iraq is not part the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) inside the country." Some are denying the authenticity of the statement (which also calls the Turkish troops "illegal") and noting that it was released to the press not by the Joint Task Force but by the Shi'ite militias.
All this as US President Barack Obama tries to force the liberation or 'liberation' of Mosul in time to get a gold star for his tarnished legacy and in time to save the election for War Hawk Hillary Clinton.
Things are a bit complicated by the issue with Turkey.
But they'll find some way around it just the way the White House has agreed to look the other way at the War Crimes of the Shi'ite militias in Iraq.
report Iraqi Sunni civilians under threat by Shia Militias backed by Iraq Gov. in Iraq's Diyala province #warcrimes
Meanwhile Samuel Oakford (IRIN) has an explosive report which opens:
Records detailing as many as 181,000 rounds of depleted uranium munitions shot in 2003 by American forces in Iraq have been unearthed by researchers, representing the most significant public documentation of the controversial armament's use during the US-led invasion.
The cache, released to George Washington University in 2013 but until now not made public, shows that a majority of the 1,116 sorties carried out by A-10 jet crews during March and April of 2003 were aimed at so-called “soft targets” like cars and trucks, as well as buildings and troop positions. This runs parallel to accounts that the munitions were used on a wide array of targets and not just against the tanks and armoured vehicles that the Pentagon maintains super-penetrative DU munitions are intended for.
The strike logs were originally handed over in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, but were not published on the archive’s website.
Fishing for new information, researchers at the Dutch NGO PAX, and an advocacy group, the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW), obtained the records earlier this year, which were then mapped and analysed. IRIN obtained both the data and analysis, which is contained in a report that will be published later this week.
Confirmation that the munitions were used more indiscriminately than previously acknowledged could renew calls for scientists to look deeper into the health effects of DU on civilian populations in conflict areas. The munitions have been suspected – but never conclusively proven – of causing cancer and birth defects, among other issues.
Lastly, RUDAW reports, "Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari is set to appear before parliament on Thursday on charges of corruption, following impeachment of two other ministers since August and the resignation of a third." al-Jaafari's government corruption goes back many years. He's also suffered a loss of influence as he's no longer the commanding presence in Iraq he once was (Ammar al-Hakim outranks al-Jaafari in terms of prestige and power these days).
The following community sites updated: