Turkey says Arab League not getting its Iraq efforts
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç. AA photo
The Arab League has failed to understand Turkey’s self-sacrificing and resolved efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the region, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç said on Dec. 26.
His remarks came after foreign ministers of the Arab League condemned Turkish military presence in Iraq and called on Turkey to withdraw its troops from the Arab country.
“The statement of the Arab League, unfortunately, reveals that it has not comprehended both the extent of the threats posed by Daesh [ISIL] to mainly Iraq and our region, and Turkey’s self-sacrificing and resolved efforts in the face of this threat,” Bilgiç told Anadolu Agency.
The spokesman said no change had occurred in Turkey’s will to negotiate with Iraq to maintain mechanisms necessary to boost and deepen cooperation against ISIL.
Turkey has said it has been running a training program at a camp established in Bashiqa, near ISIL-held Mosul, to provide training to Iraqi volunteers as part of its fight against ISIL. Turkish troops at the camp are not assigned combat duties.
On Dec. 4, Turkey reinforced the protection component of its units at the camp due to increasing threats to their security.
Following a series of bilateral talks to alleviate Iraq’s concerns, Turkey rearranged the number of troops in Bashiqa and the additional security elements started leaving the camp on Dec. 14.
Iraq also appealed to the United Nations Security Council, stating that Turkey was violating its sovereignty and asked the Security Council to use force to make Turkey withdraw its troops from Iraqi soil.