Turkish PM calls Iraqi counterpart, congratulates on Ramadi success
AA photoTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called his Iraqi counterpart, Haidar al-Abadi, on Dec. 30 and congratulated him on the recapture of Ramadi from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants on Dec. 28.
During the phone conversation, Abadi reiterated his stance on respecting the territorial integrity of Iraq in regards to the deployment of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp near Mosul. Accordingly, Davutoğlu reassured that Turkey understood Iraq’s sensitivity over its sovereignty.
Davutoğlu also said the issue should be evaluated in context of Turkey’s struggle against both ISIL and the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) threats in the region, and added that Turkish support to the liberation of Mosul would continue.
Davutoğlu also condemned the Dec. 29 attack targeting Abadi’s convoy in Ramadi during his visit to the city after the recapture.
Meanwhile, Abadi accused Turkey of failing to respect its agreement to withdraw its troops from the country’s north.
Abadi told his Turkish counterpart during the call that a Turkish delegation had promised to withdraw its troops, according to a statement from his media office.
“But the Turkish government has not respected the agreement and we request that the Turkish government announce immediately that it will withdraw from Iraqi territory,” Reuters quoted Abadi as saying.
The diplomatic dispute flared after Turkey deployed a military protection unit of around 150 troops earlier this month, citing heightened security risks near the Bashiqa military base where its troops were training Iraqi militia to fight ISIL insurgents in nearby Mosul.
Iraqi security forces have had only a limited presence in the Nineveh province, where the camp is located, since collapsing in June 2014 in the face of a lightning advance by ISIL.
Biden to visit Turkey
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Turkey next month amid the ongoing fight against ISIL.
Biden will visit Turkey during his previously announced trip to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum during the week of Jan. 17. The White House said Biden will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
The U.S. is pressing Turkey to do more in the fight against ISIL and tighten its border with Syria, as Turkey has been a target of ISIL attacks.
Biden is also working to stamp out a fiery spat between Turkey and Iraq over the Turkish troops in northern Iraq.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari reiterated the country’s demands that Turkish troops pull out of northern Iraq, warning that Baghdad may have to consider military action.