Following Iraq’s demands that Turkey withdraws from Iraq on grounds of breached sovereignty, Ankara straightforwardly responded with “out of the question”. Since then, matters have rapidly evolved.
On Monday, after continued protests by Iraq Prime Minister, Hairdar al Abadi, Turkey withdrew some of its troops from Iraq. The US welcomed the move but insisted that Turkey should continue removing any troops the Iraqi government has not given approval of.
On December 14, after US Vice President, Joe Biden spoke to al-Abadi regarding the matter, the Whitehouse made a statement saying Turkey should be as committed to respecting Iraq’s sovereignty as Washington is.
“The Vice President reaffirmed the United States commitment to Iraqi sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Turkey to do the same by withdrawing any military forces from Iraqi territory that have not yet been authorised by the Iraqi government” the statement said.
The US’ decision to back the Iraqi government may have come following Iraq’s leaning towards Russia for help fighting Islamic State. In October, key Iraqi politician, Hakim al-Zamili made clear his partiality to Russia.
“We are seeking to see Russia have a bigger role in Iraq … the government has been relying heavily on an untrustworthy ally, which is the United States, and this fault should be fixed” he said in an interview to Reuters.
Turkey has not yet acted on the US calls for withdrawal.