After the tension that followed Turkey shooting down a Russian jet, Turkey is now caught up in a controversy with its other critical neighbor, Iraq. When the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) sent soldiers accompanied by tanks to the camp at Bashiqa, 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mosul, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued an ultimatum for Turkish troops to leave within 48 hours. He said Iraq will consider all options, including turning to the Security Council, should Turkey fail to withdraw. Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi said that about 1,000 soldiers had been sent without informing Baghdad, too many for a training mission.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu responded with a letter to Abadi saying Turkey will suspend sending troops to Bashiqa until the Iraqi government’s concerns are addressed. But the letter did not yield results. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari said that the time was running out and repeated the warning that Iraq would turn to the UN if Turkey doesn’t withdraw its troops. Then the TSK announced that it had halted the dispatch of a new 350-strong unit waiting at the border, but 600 troops at Bashiqa now will not be withdrawn.
The crisis was brought about by a lack of coordination. The Iraqi government requires that all military assistance against the Islamic State go through Baghdad in coordination with the Ministry of Defense. The United States, which has defense and cooperation agreements with Iraq, is extremely careful to respect the Iraqi conditions.
There are several reasons Turkey tends to commit careless mistakes in Iraq.