Iran says envoy's remarks on Turkey's army ops in Iraq 'misunderstood'

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh has said that the remarks of Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi on Turkey's military operations were "misunderstood." "Both Turkey and Iran agree on protecting Iraq's territorial integrity," Khatibzadeh said.

Turkish soldiers are seen posing for a photo.

Duvar English 

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said that an Iranian envoy's remarks on Turkey's military operations in northern Iraq were "misunderstood."

"The governments of both Iran and Turkey agree on protecting Iraq's national sovereignty and territorial integrity, which are the main principles of international relations," Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency cited Khatibzadeh as telling reporters on March 1. 

"A misunderstanding took place and it was removed through talks," he said.  

Iran’s Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi angered Ankara when he said that Tehran strongly opposes Turkish intervention in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as he called on Ankara to withdraw its troops from Iraq and respect international borders.


“We reject military intervention in Iraq and Turkish forces should not pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil,” Masjedi told Rudaw on Feb. 27. “The security of the Iraqi area should be maintained by Iraqi forces and [Kurdistan] Region forces in their area.”

“We do not accept at all, be it Turkey or any other country to intervene in Iraq militarily or advance or have a military presence in Iraq,” Masjedi said. “Therefore we believe the Turks must return to their international position and be stationed there, and the security of Iraq be maintained by Iraqis.”

Ankara and Tehran have since summoned each other’s ambassadors over comments made by the Iranian envoy to Baghdad.

Turkey has established a number of military outposts inside Iraqi territory in the Kurdistan Region since the mid-1990s to fight the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), increasing its cross-border footprint in recent years. Since June 2020, Turkey has launched three major air and ground operations, establishing new outposts deep inside the Kurdistan Region.

Baghdad has lodged formal protests on a number of occasions about violations of its territory by Turkish forces and aircraft, but to no avail and in recent years, Ankara has stepped up its airstrikes in the Kurdistan Region, killing top operatives of the PKK.

Turkey launched an operation on Feb. 10 to free a group of its nationals held by the PKK in the Gara mountains of Duhok province. Turkey accused the PKK of killing them, an accusation rejected by the PKK, which maintained that Turkey accidentally killed the captives when bombing the cave where they being held.

Turkey has threatened that its next operation would be in the Sinjar area to clear it of a Yazidi militant group established with the help of the PKK in the aftermath of the genocidal attack of ISIS in August 2014.