RNA - "Erdogan's behavior in the region and his policies towards developments related to the war against terrorism in Iraq prepare the ground for military confrontation between Ankara and Baghdad in Iraq and Syria," al-Samarrai wrote on his facebook page on Tuesday.
"If other variables don’t change, the current events will draw the Iraqi and Turkish forces towards a confrontation in Iraq and Syria and the Hash al-Sha'abi (Iraqi popular forces) will have most powerful and widest presence in such clashes although its role will be limited in a full-fledged war," he added.
Al-Samarrai emphasized that anyway anything which happens in the near future will cut off Turkey's hand from Syria.
In relevant remarks last month, a senior commander of Iraq's popular forces fighting ISIL with the government troops urged Turkey to unconditionally withdraw its military forces from Iraq and threatened to use force against Turkish troops in Nineveh if Ankara refuses to withdraw them.
Jawad al-Tleibawi, a senior member of Hashd al-Sha'abi, said in press statements that the PMU are “capable of forcing out the Turkish occupiers if diplomacy and political negotiations fail to".
He labeled statements by Ankara officials which partially conditioned the withdrawal upon pulling out al-Hashd from Nineveh as “a flagrant intervention in Iraq’s domestic affairs”.
Tleibawi said PMU’s participation had taken part in Mosul battles as per official commands by the supreme commander of the armed forces, a reference to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
Tensions between Ankara and Baghdad reached their peak in November as Baghdad pressed Ankara to withdraw troops from a military base in Bashiqa, Nineveh.
While Baghdad labeled Turkish military presence as a violation of its sovereignty, Ankara maintained the importance of the deployment, arguing it trained local militias to combat ISIL militants and to curb the influence of PKK militants, an organization with a long history of conflict with Ankara which the latter lists as a terrorist organization.