Special to WorldTribune.com
U.S. President Barack Obama has personally intervened in a dispute between Turkey and Iraq involving the battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, asking Turkey’s leader to coordinate his actions with both Washington and Baghdad.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to join the battle to liberate the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from IS, despite protests from Baghdad that Turkish troops don’t belong on the ground there.
In his first move to mediate the conflict between the two key neighbors and U.S. allies, Obama in a phone call with Erdogan on October 26 pointed out the need for close coordination between Ankara and both U.S. and Iraqi forces that are pressing the Mosul battle, to ensure the success of the campaign, the White House said.
Appearing to take Baghdad’s side in the spat, Obama also called for “continued dialogue” between Turkey and Iraq to “determine the appropriate level and form of Turkey’s participation” in the anti-IS campaign.
The White House said Obama and Erdogan “affirmed their strong support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq,” touching on a particularly sore point for Baghdad, which has accused Turkey of violating its borders.