Baghdad has accused Ankara in front of UN of being behind a deadly attack on a recreation area in the north of the country. Turkey denies any responsibility, but Iraq has seized the UN Security Council to denounce violations of its territorial integrity.
By seizing the UN Security Council, Iraq says it wants to make its voice heard and ask the international community for support in order to reaffirm its territorial sovereignty. Since last week, Baghdad has been demanding the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from its territory. Ankara has around forty military positions in the north of the country to wage its battle against the PKK, the Kurdistan workers’ party considered a terrorist organization by Turkey and its Western allies.
But Baghdad is in a weak position vis-à-vis its powerful neighbor. The Iraqi army does not control all of the territory. The Islamic State group remains active, armed factions close to Tehran also carry out attacks. It is also towards them that all eyes are turned after the sending of two booby-trapped drones to a Turkish base last week. And the country’s borders are long and porous.
Last week’s Turkish attack caused a stir among Iraqis. And it came on top of other grievances, such as the drop in rivers attributed to dams built in Turkey.
While the country has been going through a political crisis since the legislative elections last October, Iraqi politicians, unable to form a government, are seeking to capitalize on anti-Turkish sentiment. The tone with regard to Ankara is firm, but it is more a display of internal politics than an affirmation against a regional power.
As a reminder, Iraq declared a day of national mourning on Thursday, July 21, after nine civilians were killed and 23 others injured in an artillery fire attributed to Turkey in the semi-autonomous province of Kurdistan, in the north from the country.