Iraqi delegation heading to Turkey, dialogue sought: Turkish FM
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
AA photoTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said an Iraqi delegation will visit Turkey by the end of the week, probably on Oct. 20, stressing that both Ankara and Baghdad are willing to solve the political dispute between them through “dialogue.”
Turkish and Iraqi officials discussed the status of Turkish troops in northern Iraq and agreed to continue dialogue in order to make the status of these forces clear, sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the Hürriyet Daily News, discussing a visit by a Turkish delegation to Baghdad on Oct. 17.
The parties also reportedly discussed the ongoing Mosul operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including the role of Nineveh fighters. Turkish officials warned of sectarian clashes if Shiite militias take part in upcoming Tel Afar offensive, while the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Sinjar region was also among the discussions.
Meanwhile, supporters of the Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have been demonstrating in front of the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad since Oct. 17, demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops. More than 10,000 people gathered in front of the embassy but dispersed on Oct. 18, local sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Relations between Turkey and Iraq have been strained over the Turkish military presence in the latter, which the Iraqi authorities said was against their will. The tension between the two neighbors continued with the recently launched Mosul offensive, as Turkey indicated that it was willing to play an active role in the campaign to clear the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) out of the region, but it is not yet involved in the campaign. -
Some of the local forces that Turkey trained in the Bashiqa camp, which was a source of tension between Ankara and Baghdad, are taking part in the offensive, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 17.