Erdoğan makes phone call to Turkish troops in Iraq’s Bashiqa camp
ARBIL - Anadolu Agency
AA photoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a phone call to Turkish troops in Iraq’s Bashiqa camp on Jan. 8, paraising them for “standing against oppression.”
“You have caused great distress for Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] there [...]. Neutralizing nearly 1,300 Daesh terrorists in the Syrian fight has shown the might of the Turkish soldiers,” the president said, according to presidential sources.
Turkey has a longstanding military training mission at Bashiqa camp, where Turkish soldiers have trained both Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat techniques.
In recent months, the mission’s presence in Mosul in northern Iraq has led to tension between Baghdad and Ankara amid calls by some Iraqi lawmakers for Turkish troops to withdraw.
Baghdad stated that its stance on the camp was unchanged and reiterated its call on Turkey to start its military withdrawal process while Ankara said it respects Iraq’s territorial integrity and national unity.
In remarks made on Jan. 7 in Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said: “Your recent statement stating that ‘we will not allow the PKK [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] to threaten Turkey from Iraqi territories’ is of great importance to us.”
He also said Turkey was not in Bashiqa “arbitrarily but out of necessity.”