Alwaght- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been condemned for labeling as “terrorist” Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) who are fighting ISIS.
Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesperson of the PMF (also known as al-Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) said on Thursday that Erdogan's remarks represent a “flagrant intervention” in Iraqi affairs. He added that the remarks are “a violation against an Iraqi security institution” that is “recognized by the parliament and the state”.
Speaking during an interview with Qatar state-funded Al-Jazeera TV late Wednesday, Erdogan claimed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces are a part of what he called Iran’s “Persian expansion policy”.
“Who are al-Hashd al-Shaabi? Who is backing them? The Iraqi parliament supports al-Hashd al-Shaabi, but, honestly, they are a terrorist organization, and should be known who stands behind it,” he said during the interview.
PMF fighting unit was formed by a decree from Iraq’s top Shiite clergy in 2014 to combat ISIS Takfiri terrorists who took over many regions of Iraq. It won Iraqi parliamentary recognition as a national armed force late 2016. The PMF is currently engaged in fighting against ISIS terrorists on the side of the Iraqi government forces.
The Iraqi officials have defended the mobilization forces against criticisms. Earlier in April, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi fervently vowed to “cut the hands” of whoever defames Popular Mobilization Forces. “They volunteered to defend Iraq and its people based on a fatwa by the clergy,” he said.