0939 GMT August 17, 2017
Tensions between Baghdad and Ankara escalated in October last year after the leaders of the two neighbors were caught in a war of words over Turkey’s unauthorized military presence in Iraq.
"You are not my interlocutor. You are not at my level. You are not my equivalent. You are not of the same quality as me," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in mid-October 2016, in response to a demand from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi that Turkey withdraw its troops from Iraq.
"Your screaming in Iraq is of no importance to us," he said in a speech to Muslim religious leaders from the Balkans and Central Asia in Istanbul. "You should know that we will go our own way."
Turkey began deploying its forces to the Bashiqa military camp on the outskirts of Mosul in December 2015 without the consent of the Iraqi government and rejected Baghdad’s calls to withdraw the troops.
Ankara said the deployment was aimed at training Iraqi forces, who were fighting against Daesh. However, Baghdad called it an incursion into its soil.
The recent trip of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to Iraq could be an indication that the two nations are seeking to overcome the row.
Facts on the ground indicate that the Eurasian nation wants to pave the way for playing a new role in the region.
Turkey intends to get closer to Iraq to overcome its problems which pertain to the battle against Daesh terrorists and Kurdish militants.
Besides, Ankara plans to use closer ties with Iraq to highlight its fight against Daesh and Kurdish militants in Syria.
Yildirim’s trip follows the liberation of the Syrian city of Aleppo and the recent defeat of terrorists in Iraq and Syria in several fronts.
Ankara, which is accused of supporting and funding Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria, has apparently made a shift in its policy in the wake of regional developments and terror attacks which have hit Turkey.
The shift is a positive measure. But Ankara should be aware that its chickens have come home to roost.
The country should brace for tough times as Daesh is back to take revenge on what many call the terror group’s one-time supporter.