TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Turkey's deputy prime minister said on Wednesday a military build-up on the border with Iraq was a precaution, not a threat, and urged the government in Baghdad to lower tensions after it warned Turkey would pay for any incursion.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the broadcaster NTV, "I regard Abadi's words as overstepping the mark. Abadi must make statements lowering the tension …
"We are obliged to take measures to guard against threats from across Turkey's border," he added. "It is more of a precaution than a threat."
A convoy of Turkish tanks and other armored vehicles are advancing toward the town of Silopi, near the Iraqi border, their deployment coinciding with an Iraqi operation to drive Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) from the northern city of Mosul.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned on Tuesday that Baghdad would respond to any violation of its territory.
Abadi said his country did not want war or confrontation and that the "door of diplomacy" was open, but, adding, "If they enter, we are ready to face them … Any invasion of Iraq would lead to the dismantling of Turkey."
Iraqi security forces and Peshmerga fighters started a massive offensive against the Takfiri group on Oct. 17.
The recapture of Mosul would mark the Takfiri militants’ effective defeat in the Iraqi half of the territory they had seized.