TNAnews- Baghdad| The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad on Thursday (April 20) to hand over a note of protest against remarks made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashid al-Shaabi).
Erdogan referred to Hashid al-Shaabi as a terrorist entity in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Wednesday (April 19). The ministry has summoned Turkish Ambassador Fatih Yildiz in response.
“The Foreign Ministry issued a decision to summon Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to hand him a formal protest note regarding recent remarks by the Turkish president on the Hashid al-Shaabi,” ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said in an interview with AFP.
“In the fight against Daesh [ISIS] in Iraq there is something striking,” Erdogan said during the interview with Al-Jazeera. “It’s interesting, the Iraqi Parliament says the Hashid al-Shaabi is not a terror group but what is interesting is who is behind this terror group.”
Erdogan said Iran was likely implementing a “Persian expansion policy” in Iraq by supporting Shia forces.
Turkey has repeatedly said letting Shia militias, who the Iraqi army has relied on in the past, take part in the operation on the mainly Sunni Arab city of Mosul could spark sectarian violence.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s press office issued a statement with “surprise” on Thursday in response to Erdogan’s comments, saying Turkish intervention in internal affairs is unacceptable.
“This force owes allegiance to Iraq and its people and not to any other country. It follows the orders of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” the statement said.