A diplomatic row erupted between Turkey and Iran after the Iranian ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, had made controversial statements on his country’s opposition to Turkish military intervention in Iraq.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Farazmand on February 28 and informed him of Ankara’s strong rejection of Masjedi’s statements in Baghdad.
The ministry confirmed that what Ankara expects from Iran is for it to support Turkey in its fight against terrorism, not oppose it. It also said both Turkey and Iran agree that the presence of the (Kurdistan Workers' Party) PKK in northern Iraq constitutes a common threat.
Farazmand was also informed that in order for the Iraqi government to be able to combat the PKK effectively, support must be given to efforts invested in curbing the activities of all armed militias tied to the Kurdish group.
The ministry complained about Masjedi failing to acknowledge the threat posed by the PKK in Iraq.
More so, the Turkish ambassador in Tehran was summoned by the Iranian Foreign Ministry following accusations made by Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Iran harboring PKK elements.
Turkish Ambassador to Iran Darya Ores was officially notified of Iran's protest to Soylu’s ‘unacceptable’ remarks.
During the meeting, the statements of the Turkish ambassador to Iraq were also considered unjustified and criticized.
“We reject military intervention in Iraq and Turkish forces should not pose a threat or violate Iraqi soil,” Iran’s ambassador to Iraq, Masjedi, told Kurdish media outlet Rudaw on Saturday.
“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 have a military presence in Iraq.
"Therefore, we believe the Turks must return to their international position and be stationed there, and the security of Iraq be maintained by Iraqis."
The Turkish ambassador to Iraq, Fatih Yildiz, responded using Twitter.
“The ambassador of Iran would be the last person to lecture Turkey about respecting borders of Iraq,” he said.
The statements prompted a response from the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mohammed Al Halbousi, who urged foreign diplomats to focus on their role as representatives of their countries.
“The duty of the representatives of diplomatic missions in Iraq is to represent their countries and enhance bilateral co-operation,” he said.
“Some of those representatives have to realize this very well, and not to meddle and to respect the sovereignty of Iraq in order not to be treated the same.”