Ankara’s Intrusion into Iraq Is yet Another Act of Defiance of International Law


Intrusion by Turkish troops and armored vehicles into Iraq was yet another challenge to international law and a confirmation that Ankara does nothing to fight against the ISIL in reality, polled analysts said.

Last week, up to 150 Turkish troops and about 25 armored vehicles, including tanks, intruded into northern Iraq near the city of Mosul. According to Turkish media, the Turkish military crossed the Iraqi border allegedly while chasing Kurdish militants responsible for Sunday’s attack that claimed the lives of 16 Turkish soldiers. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu explained that the troop redeployment was nothing but routine rotation of troops providing support for a camp of Iraqi Kurds who had volunteered to fight against the ISIL. Davutoglu also claimed that the operation had been agreed with the Iraqi Defense Ministry. Iraq’s Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi denied this. Syria and Iraq have formally condemned Turkey’s intrusion.

Baghdad has lodged an official protest with Ankara and demanded the Turkish forces leave the country’s territory within 48 hours. Otherwise Iraq will ask the UN Security Council for protection. Iraq’s ultimatum expires on December 7.

The president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, believes that the shooting down of Russia’s Sukhoi-24 frontline bomber over Syria and the ground intrusion into Iraq demonstrated Ankara’s flagrant defiance of international law and of the sovereignty of an independent state. “Ankara regards northern Iraq as a zone of its inalienable interests and feels free to act regardless of international law, precisely the way the United States does,” Satanovsky told TASS.

He pointed to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Davutoglu’s allegations only ten percent of operations by Russia’s air group in Syria are targeted against DAESH (Arabic name of the ISIL), while all other attacks against hit Syria’s moderate opposition. “Ankara finds its annoying Russia is fighting terrorists who enjoy its support. In the meantime, Turkey’s own armed forces, while professing struggle against the ISIL, have long waged a war exclusively on rebels from terrorist PKK in this way pursuing its own territorial aims,” Satanovsky said.

He is certain that neither Washington nor other allies in the international coalition will try to call Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan to order over the intervention in Iraq. “The Western allies are in no mood of quarrelling with Erdogan. Their common aim is to depose the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, and they will not stop at anything in attempts to achieve their aims.”

Satanovsky sees a confirmation of that in the pro-US coalition’s air raid against a camp of Syrian government troops near Deiz ez-Zor, which left three men killed and 13 injured. The Syrian Foreign Ministry slammed the attack as an act of “outright aggression.”

The leading research fellow at the Oriental Studies Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Akhmetov, said the Turkish military’s intrusion into Iraq was “Ankara’s customary illegal practice.”

“Terrorist PKK is Turkey’s enemy and an opponent of the Turkish state system and the Turkish citizens loyal to the authorities. While fighting against the terrorist PKK  Turkish troops more than once crossed into neighboring Iraq illegally in the past without incurring punishment. But in this particular situation against the backdrop of soaring tensions in the Middle East over the Russian Sukhoi-24 bomber the Turks had shot down that intrusion caused particular anger in Iraq, Syria and Iran, of which the social networks and television broadcasts in both countries are clear evidence,” Vladimir Akhmetov told TASS.

“At this particular moment, on the eve of another round of talks in Vienna over a settlement in Syria Turkey is keen to exert influence on those Western countries which tend to agree with Russia Bashar Assad should stay in power until the full elimination of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the beginning of a political process in Syria. This is precisely why Ankara dares violate the border of a neighboring country while stepping up its operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which supports Assad. Also, it charges Moscow with bombing Syrian opposition,” Akhmetov said.