Turkey calls on Iraqi PM to lower tensions in region
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to lower tensions that fanned the flames of ethnic and sectarian unrest in the region. 

Kurtulmus made the remarks Wednesday on Turkish private news channel NTV.

"We recommend that Mr. al-Abadi see the big game as well as the big picture. Making Sunni and Shia forces clash against each other in this region […] means fanning the flames of ethnic and sectarian unrest in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey," Kurtulmus said.

"So Mr. al-Abadi should speak up to lower the tensions. This is for the benefits of Iraq, Turkey and the region," he said.

On Tuesday, al-Abadi addressed the recent tension between Iraq and Turkey.

“If there is a confrontation, the Turks will pay an exorbitant price,” al-Abadi said, adding that while wars between neighboring countries can bring destruction to both, Iraq would be ready for any confrontation with Turkey.

“Any invasion of Iraq would lead to the dismantling of Turkey,” the Iraqi premier said, adding that Iraq had welcomed Turkish forces inside the country to train fighters and give logistical support, not as a fighting force.

Turkey has maintained a long-standing training base near Bashiqa, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Mosul. Their presence has created tension between Ankara and Baghdad, with Iraqi lawmakers calling for their removal.

The Iraqi government took exception to Turkey’s military base in Bashiqa established to provide training to Iraqi local forces to battle Daesh.

"We decide when we terminate our presence in Bashiqa. We said this almost six months ago," said Kurtulmus.

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