Bashiqa base in northern Iraq will stay: President Erdoğan

Bashiqa base in northern Iraq will stay: President Erdoğan

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Bashiqa base in northern Iraq will stay: President Erdoğan

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 15 that Turkey's presence in the Bashiqa military base in northern Iraq will remain, amid the ongoing row with Baghdad, which has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish military from the camp. 

"No one should talk about our Bashiqa base. It will stay there. Because, Bashiqa is also an insurance against terror attacks targeting Turkey," Erdoğan said on Oct. 15 in the Black Sea province of Rize.

The president also said that Turkey would not allow Mosul to be taken by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or another terror organization.

"We won't let Mosul be given to Daesh (ISIL) or any other terrorist organization. They say Iraq's central government needs to approve this but the Iraqi central government should first deal with their own problems," Erdoğan said.

He criticized Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's government, asking "where was the Iraqi government" when ISIL entered Mosul.

"Why did you let Daesh enter Iraq, why did you let Daesh enter Mosul? They were almost going to come to Baghdad, where are you, the central government of Iraq?" he added.

Erdoğan also noted that Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters were advancing toward ISIL-held Dabiq village.

The presence of Turkish troops in Iraq has resulted in diplomatic tension between Iraq and Turkey, with the Iraqi parliament sending a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador on Oct. 4 that declared the troops’ presence there to be illegal, after which Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador in Ankara the following day.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi called on Turkey to withdraw troops deployed near the northern city of Mosul and said they would not play a role in the operation to retake it from ISIL.