Turkey acted “recklessly and inexplicably” by sending forces across the Iraqi border without the approval of Baghdad, Russia’s envoy to the United Nations told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday. Iraq had warned Turkey that it would appeal to the U.N. if Ankara did not withdraw troops that were deployed last Thursday.
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., said at a closed council meeting that Ankara's move also showed the "lack of legality" in the air campaign over Syria by the U.S.-led international coalition without its permission, the Associated Press reported. Churkin expressed discontent that the council did not agree on Russia’s suggestion to issue a statement acknowledging the obligation to follow international law, according to AP.
Relations between Russia and Turkey strained after Ankara downed a Russian Su-24M fighter jet on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border. Ankara accused Russia of violating Turkish airspace -- a claim consistently denied by Moscow. In response, Russia deployed a missile cruiser at its airbase near the Syrian coastal province of Latakia and imposed economic sanctions on Turkey.
The relations between the two countries further soured after Turkey sent its troops into northern Iraq. Turkey said the deployment was a part of a routine rotation guide to Iraqi volunteer forces to retake Islamic State group-held Mosul city. Ankara halted sending of the forces after Baghdad’s warning.
Iraq's Ambassador to the U.N. Mohamed Alhakim said that Baghdad and Ankara were working to resolve the troop deployment issue. He also added that the Turkish troops crossed the border illegally and "we have made it very clear that what came through the border has to go back," AP reported.
Churkin asked if the deployment was in the interest of Iraq and fighting ISIS then "why not ask for permission of the government of Iraq?"
Turkey's U.N. Ambassador Halit Cevik, meanwhile, said his country was "very respectful of the territorial integrity, sovereignty of our neighbor," according to AP.
Russia reportedly said Monday that it will not impose further sanctions on Ankara.
“The risk of people’s presence on a territory that is dangerous, and the risk of that danger being brought here — those are significant factors,” Alexei Ulyukayev, Russia’s economic development minister told Russian newspaper Vedomosti. “In my view, the visa regime that we are introducing will remain in place for a long time. But tomatoes don’t carry that risk, so [the ban on their imports] can be the first thing to be abolished.”