Turkey’s Land Grab in Iraq Consequence of US Ignoring Int'l Law - Ex Envoy

© AP Photo / Burhan OzbiliciTurkish army troops sit in the back of a military truck as they return from northern Iraq, in Cukurca in Hakkari province at the Turkey-Iraq border, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008.
Turkish army troops sit in the back of a military truck as they return from northern Iraq, in Cukurca in Hakkari province at the Turkey-Iraq border, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008. - Sputnik International
Turkey’s occupation of Iraqi territory, a flagrant act of aggression, is a consequence of the US invasion of Iraq and the collapse of all principles of international law in the region since then, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Chas Freeman served in the US Foreign Service, as well as the department of State and Defense in different capacities.

"The basic principles of international law are no longer respected in the Middle East," Freeman said. "This Turkish intervention reflects the breakdown of sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Levant catalyzed by the American invasion of Iraq, which was itself unauthorized under international law."

Since 2003, both Iraq and Syria have been partitioned between separatist and religiously-affiliated forces, many of which enjoy the support of foreign powers, Freeman, a lifetime director of the Atlantic Council, said.

"Turkey is far from alone in disregarding the internationally recognized borders of the states in the region. But if these borders have no sanctity, the region is confirmed as a lawless zone in which the strong do what they want and the weak are powerless to prevent."

US forces intervene in Syria, Freeman pointed out, without bothering to get permission from the Syrian government or putting forward any legal justification for their violation of Syrian sovereignty.

"Why should it be a surprise that the same sort of thing is now happening in Iraq?"

Turkey risked international isolation at the United Nations over its actions against Iraq, the veteran envoy noted.

"If this matter is really referred to the Security Council, it will be interesting — to say the least — to see which country, if any, defends Turkey. Russia, which is in Syria at the request of the Syrian government, might welcome the opportunity to draw a contrast with Turkey's unauthorized presence in Iraq."

The November 24 shoot down of a Russian Sukhoi 24 bomber by the Turkish Air Force guaranteed that Moscow would make no moves to protect Ankara in the international arena, Freeman added.

"Russo-Turkish relations are already in crisis over Turkey's downing of a Russian bomber two weeks ago so I doubt Moscow will cut Ankara any slack."

Turkey would also find no sympathy in Beijing, Freeman, a leading US expert on China, also observed.

"China is a strong defender of the sovereignty and cannot be expected to condone Turkey's armed intrusion into what is officially Iraqi territory even if it is not under Baghdad's control," Freeman continued, adding that Turkey even faced isolation from its fellow members of the NATO alliance.

"If no NATO ally exercises a veto to protect Turkey from condemnation by the Security Council, what implications will that have for Turkey's continued cooperation with other members of the alliance, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany?" he questioned.

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