Iraq wants no Turkish presence

Iraq wants no Turkish presence

Iraq wants no Turkish presence

Al-Maliki’s Cabinet condemns the Turkish government’s cross-border motion. Hürriyet photo

Iraq’s Cabinet has recommended Parliament abrogate treaties permitting foreign forces in the country as the Turkish government submitted a motion to extend cross-border operations against members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The cabinet decided to reject the presence of any foreign bases or forces on Iraqi land and to reject the entry of any foreign military forces into Iraqi land,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement.

The spokesman confirmed that the Cabinet recommended Parliament cancel and not extend any treaty signed in the past with any foreign state that allows the presence of foreign forces and military bases on Iraqi land or the entry of these forces. The Cabinet also condemned the Turkish government’s motion to extend cross-border operations against militants in northern Iraq. The government motion for a one-year extension of the Turkish military’s authorization to stage cross-border operations was already submitted to Parliament in late September.

“This submission is contradictory to the principles of neighborhood and good ties between two countries, meaning the breach of Iraq’s security and sovereignty. Iraqi Cabinet will not accept any foreign military base or presence in the country. The central government reject any foreign troops in the name of ‘chasing rebels,’” Anatolia news agency quoted al-Dabbagh as saying. Turkey has maintained several military bases in northern Iraq since the 1990s. A high-ranking Iraqi official said the decision was aimed at Turkish military bases in the north Iraq province of Dohuk, one of the three provinces that make up the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The treaty in question “is the one that Saddam Hussein signed in 1995 allowing Turkish forces to have a presence in Iraq’s northern regions to pursue the PKK,” the official said on condition of anonymity, according to Agence France-Presse. Ties between Iraq and Turkey have been marred by a flurry of disputes, including Ankara’s refusal to extradite Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who was sentenced to death.