"TURKEY NOT PART OF INTERNATIONAL COALITION IN IRAQ"

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As Turkey insisted on participating in the nearing Mosul Operation against Daesh despite the Iraqi government's controversial statements, the United States seems to stoke the flames in the recently developed crisis between Ankara and Baghdad. Ankara repeatedly said that the contribution of the Turkish military, which have been training more than 3000 local fighters and Peshmerga forces against Daesh in northern Iraq, would be crucial for the success of the Mosul operation. But Baghdad's controversial statement put the situation into a headlock as it claimed Turkey's military presence in Bashiqa camp near Mosul is “illegal".

"TURKEY NOT PART OF INTERNATIONAL COALITION IN IRAQ"

The U.S. State Department Spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday that Turkey's military in Bashiqa is not a part of the international coalition in Iraq. His statement against the military presence of Turkey, an important U.S. ally in the region, seems to fuel the tension between Ankara and Baghdad. "The Turkish forces that are deployed in Iraq are not there as part of the international coalition and the situation in Bashiqa is a matter for the governments of Iraq and Turkey to resolve," he said.

He also stated that the operation would be led by Iraq and it was a matter for Baghdad which forces should be deployed on its sovereign territory. "It is imperative for all parties to coordinate closely over the coming days and weeks to ensure unity of effort," Kirby added later. His statement was released at a time when Ankara and Baghdad traded harsh criticism against each other.

Earlier this week, Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally, mocking a historic video call he made to a television station during July military coup attempt. "We will liberate our land through the determination of our men and not by video calls," Abadi's official Twitter account said. Erdoğan harshly criticized the Iraqi PM over urging him to know his place first. "It's not important at all how you shout from Iraq. You should know that we will do what we want to do," he said.

"Who's that? The Iraqi prime minister. First you know your place!" You are not my interlocutor. You are not at my level. You are not my equivalent. You are not of the same quality as me," Erdoğan said Erdoğan stated that Turkey's military would join the Mosul operation and continue its service in Iraq as long as it's needed. The disagreement is about 2,000 Turkish troops based at a camp named Bashiqa in northern Iraq, where Turkey has been training local fighters, Iraqi Arabs and Kurdish Perhmerga forces for a role in liberating Mosul.

Turkish troops in Bashiqa camp were stationed in 2014 after the official request from Iraqi authority to help anti-Daesh fight. Thousands of Daesh fighters have been digging in for months in the city of about 1 million people, which they've controlled since sweeping across Iraq in 2014.