Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended again the Iran-backed paramilitary troops fighting alongside the government forces during a meeting with Turkey’s president Wednesday.
“The Popular Mobilization Forces are composed of Iraqi fighters, and had been formed under an offensive by Daesh (Islamic State) and its occupation of our cities,” Abadi’s office quoted him telling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting in Ankara, where he arrived hours earlier.
“The PMF, today, is a part of the state’s security apparatus based on a law approved by the parliament, and we reject the existence of any foreign armed force outside the state’s frame.. We will not, also allow any force on our soil to operate against neighboring countries,” Abadi added.
Abadi’s remarks repeat a recent response his office made to U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson who had called, during a visit to Riyadh on Sunday, for “Iranian militias” in Iraq to “go home”, referring to the mobilization forces.
Abadi’s office responded sharply, stressing that “no party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters.”
Turkey itself has regularly voiced discomfort with PMF’s participation in anti-Islamic State battles.
Besides expressing a will to boost cooperation in various fields, Abadi’s office quoted Erdogan as saying his country was “deeply concerned” with the existence of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Turkish forces occasionally carry out air raids against PKK locations in northern Iraq. It designates the group as a terrorist entity.
Erdogan said PKK “forms a common threat to the neighbor countries (Iraq and Turkey) which requires “cooperation to face it”.