Turkish President Recep Erdogan labeled the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, as a “terrorist organization” and a part of the “Persian expansion policy” in an intervew to the Doha-based news outlet Al Jazeera (Its Baghdad office was shot down by the Iraqi government for promoting secrarian divisions in the country).
The Popular Mobilization Units have been playing a key role in the Iraqi government campaign against the ISIS terrorist group. However, Erdogan is not happy with this.
“Who are the Hashd al-Sha’abi? Who is backing them? The Iraqi Parliament supports Hashd al-Sha’abi, but, honestly, they are a terrorist organization and should be known who stands behind it,” he said arguing that the group is a part of a “Persian expansion policy.”
Last November, the Iraqi Parliament approved a law, recognizing the Popular Mobilization Units as part of the Iraqi Armed Forces.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador over Erdogan’s interview.
“The foreign ministry has decided to summon the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad to hand him a formal protest note regarding recent remarks by the Turkish president on the Hashed al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Units],” a spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, Ahmad Jamal, said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Units, Ahmad al-Assadi, also issued a reposne, saying Erodgan had clearly targeted the Arab country and its leadership.
“Who has given Erdogan the right to intervene in Iraq’s internal affairs? Iraq is a democratic country with institutions elected by its people. No one has the right to intervene in Iraq’s domestic affairs,” PressTV quoted him as saying.