The Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Inad announced on 27 August that Iraq has reached a preliminary deal to purchase a multi-million dollar arms package from Turkey, which would include armed drones, attack helicopters and electronic warfare systems.
Anonymous sources within the Turkish defense industry have said that the negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, but there is expected to be pushback from the US Congress, which is unlikely to approve the arms sale.
Over the years, Turkey has built a number of military bases on the Iraqi border to fight the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and often launches cross-border airstrikes into Iraqi towns and villages. In response to this, the Iraqi government has often condemned the ongoing violations of their sovereignty by Ankara.
Back in June, the Turkish Ambassador to Iraq was summoned by Iraqi officials who protested the military operations carried out in the northern region without their previous knowledge or approval.
The protest note expressed the Iraqi government’s “strong dissatisfaction” with Turkey’s cross-border operations as well as the ongoing presence of Turkish troops illegally in the country.
In response, Turkey has said that its cross-border operations are not a violation of Iraqi sovereignty but an effort to eradicate the PKK, which Ankara along with the US and EU have listed as a terrorist organization, adding that neither the Iraqi government nor the regional Iraqi Kurdish administration have taken measures to remove PKK insurgents.
Most recently, Ankara has sought to establish a permanent military base in Iraq’s northern Metina region.