CHP lends support to gov’t in spat with Iraq over Bashiqa base
AA photoThe presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa base near Mosul aims to protect the territorial integrity of Iraq and to remove jihadist terrorists from the country, the main opposition leader has said, lending rare support to the government in a row with Baghdad, which has demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish military from the camp.
“Of course the [Turkish] soldiers will leave as soon as the domestic political turbulence ends. But we want terror to be eliminated and ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] to be cleared from Mosul, Kirkuk and other Iraqi provinces. We have a duty which we took according to your desire. Let us fulfill our duty. We are determined to be a friend,” he said. “We have always defended Iraq’s territorial integrity and we will continue to do so.”
An unspecified number of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp outside ISIL-controlled Mosul in northern Iraq are involved in training local Sunni groups who plan to participate in the Iraqi army’s efforts to recapture the city. With an international operation on Mosul approaching, Baghdad demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Turkish forces on the grounds they were deployed without its consent.
Tension between the two countries escalated as a result of reciprocal accusations, with Iraq calling the United Nations Security Council to an immediate meeting.
Although the CHP head backed government’s line with regard to the Turkish troops’ presence at the camp, he urged the government to use more careful language and not pursue a sectarian foreign policy regarding Syria and Iraq, especially on the eve of the upcoming Mosul operation.
“What does the Mosul operation mean? After ISIL is cleared from Mosul, new strategies about Syria and Iraq will emerge. Turkey should use a very careful language. [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan brought up a sectarian foreign policy in an interview with the Rotana TV channel in Dubai,” he said. “And following those comments, the Iraqi government asked Turkey to retreat from Bashiqa.”