Turkey summoned on Sunday Iran’s ambassador to Ankara to demand support in the fight against “terrorism” and protest Tehran’s remarks that Turkey violated Iraq’s sovereignty, state news agency Anadolu reported citing diplomatic sources.
Ankara rejected “the accusations leveled by Iran’s envoy in Baghdad” and stressed that it was fighting the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militias in Iraq.
The PKK, which has fought an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984, is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by Ankara and its Western allies.
Turkey has launched multiple air strikes targeting PKK bases in northern Iraq including the areas of Kandil and Sinjar.
“This was known by all parties, including the Iraqi authorities… Ankara also told [the Iranian envoy] that it expects Iran to support, not oppose, Turkey’s fight against terrorism,” Anadolu reported.
Iran and Turkey are rivals in several parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, but both have carried out operations against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
The incident prompted Iranian envoy to Baghdad Iraj Masjedi to warn that Turkish forces should not “pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil”.
Earlier this month, Turkey accused Kurdish militants of killing 12 Turks and an Iraqi who were being held hostage in northern Iraq.
“We do not accept at all, be it Turkey or any other country, to intervene in Iraq militarily or advance or have a military presence in Iraq,” Masjedi was quoted as saying in an interview broadcast on Saturday.
Turkey’s Baghdad envoy Fatih Yildiz quickly hit back, writing on Twitter that Iran’s ambassador was “the last person to lecture Turkey” about respecting Iraq’s borders.