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    Turkish commando troops patrol on a road in the southeastern province of Sirnak at the Turkish-Iraqi border (File)

    Turkey Puts NATO Regime Change Lessons to Use in Iraq

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    Turkish Troops Deployed to Iraq (83)
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    Turkey' activities in northern Iraq are symptomatic of Ankara's desire for more regime change in Baghdad with NATO help, and could lead to war between the countries, the German press worries.

    Turkey's aggression in northern Iraq, call for Turks to leave the country, and airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets raise the risk of full-blown conflict between the two countries, warned Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) on Thursday.

    "The tension between Turkey and Iraq could soon open a new front in the Middle East; a war between these two countries cannot be ruled out any longer," writes DWN. The newspaper quotes President Erdogan from an interview on Wednesday with Al-Jazeera, in which he accused the Iraqi government of failing to protect Sunnis in northern Iraq.

    "What will happen to Sunnis? There are Sunni Arabs, Sunni Turkmen and Sunni Kurds. What will happen to their security? They need a sense of security," Erdogan said. He claimed that "a lot of Arabs in the region have lost their rights."

    Last week Turkey sent a 25 tank battalion and hundreds of troops as reinforcements for a unit in northern Iraq, without first getting the permission of Iraq's central government in Baghdad, which condemned the move as a "hostile act," and a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. 

    Turkish Army tank stands ready near the village of Bamarni in northern Iraq, 30km beyond the Turkey-Iraq border
    © AP Photo / Sasa Kralj
    Turkish Army tank stands ready near the village of Bamarni in northern Iraq, 30km beyond the Turkey-Iraq border
    The Iraqi government demanded the withdrawal of the forces within 48 hours, and have now raised the matter with the UN Security Council. The US State Department and anti-ISIL (Daesh) envoy stated that the US does not support the deployment, and encouraged diplomatic dialogue between the two sides.

    ​As well as sending tanks and troop reinforcements to northern Iraq, on Wednesday the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) reported that Turkish airstrikes aimed at several of its positions in northern Iraq, but instead of hitting guerrilla targets, caused damage to three villages. 

    "Erdogan is obviously following a wider agenda that could overlap with the wider interests of the US military and NATO," writes DWN.

    "Turkey will try to use its status as a NATO member to exploit Iraq's weaknesses. The government in Baghdad has undergone an amazing swing towards Russia. That will be a great worry for US neocons."

    'Escalation: War between Turkey and Iraq is possible: in northern Iraq the situation is getting worse.​'

    Ankara's call for Turkish citizens to leave Iraq is proof of the gravity of the situation, writes the newspaper. On Wednesday the Turkish Foreign Ministry told Turkish citizens to leave all areas of Iraq, excluding Iraqi Kurdistan, due to increased security risks.

    "The scope of our travel warning to Iraq has expanded to include all provinces except for Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniyah."

    Those areas are in the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan region, and people living there should obey warnings and guidance from the Iraqi Kurdish administration, and stay away from areas where operations are taking place against Daesh, said the Foreign Ministry.

    The government stated the measure was a response to "growing remarks from various circles against Turkey's interests and encouraging acts of violence, terror, demonstration and kidnapping," as well as threats towards Turkish companies. 

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    Turkish Troops Deployed to Iraq (83)

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