Iraq appeals to UN over Turkish forces’ deployment
REUTERS photoIraq appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 11 to demand an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops from northern Iraq, calling Turkey’s military incursion a “flagrant violation” of international law.
“We call on the Security Council to demand that Turkey withdraw its forces immediately ... and not to violate Iraqi sovereignty again,” Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said in a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, president of the Security Council this month.
“This is considered a flagrant violation of the principles of the U.N. Charter, and a violation of Iraqi territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Iraq,” the letter said, according to an unofficial translation of the Arabic original.
The letter, which was seen by Reuters, was sent after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi instructed the Foreign Ministry to lodge a formal complaint at the United Nations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 11 that he would not bow to Iraqi demands to withdraw Turkish troops from a camp close to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-held city of Mosul.
Alhakim made clear that bilateral diplomacy had failed so far to end the dispute between the two neighbors.
“Iraq worked on containment of this issue by diplomatic means and bilateral talks, but these efforts did not succeed in convincing Turkey to withdraw its occupying forces from Iraqi territory,” Alhakim wrote to Power, noting that the Turkish incursion was an “aggressive act.”
Meanwhile, thousands of Iraqis protested on Dec. 12 against Ankara’s deployment of troops to a base near Mosul, with some burning Turkish flags and threatening violence against the soldiers for what they see as a violation of sovereignty.
At least 4,000 demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Dec. 12, and several thousand more in the oil city of Basra in the south, including Shi’ite militia members who held up banners reading “Death to Turkey. Death to Erdoğan.”
“We consider any military presence on Iraqi land as foreign aggression which we should stand against using all possible means,” Hadi al-Amiri, a Shi’ite lawmaker who heads the powerful armed Badr Organisation, told protesters in Baghdad.
Groups within the Hashad al-Shaabi, or Popular Mobilization forces, which are dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias, called for the demonstration against the Turkish military presence.
“As the leader of a military brigade, I am not fully satisfied with the government’s action, and we are here to say that Iraq’s patience has run out,” Ali Rubaie, the commander of a unit usually stationed west of Baghdad, was quoated as saying by Agence France-Presse.