Iraqi parliament’s decision does not represent all Iraqis: Minister

Iraqi parliament’s decision does not represent all Iraqis: Minister

Iraqi parliament’s decision does not represent all Iraqis: Minister

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A resolution adopted by Iraq’s parliament criticizing the Turkish military presence at the Bashiqa base in northern Iraq does not represent all of Iraqis, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, describing the move as ill-intended. 
“First of all, we don’t regard the statement of the Iraqi Parliament about the annually renewed motion in the Turkish parliament as well-intentioned. We very well know that this does not reflect the thinking of all of the Iraqi people,” Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with visiting Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic late on Oct. 5.  

Recalling that Turkey was renewing the motion that has granted authority to the Turkish army to conduct cross-border operations and to deploy troops in Iraq every year since 2007 because of “terror threats against the Turkish people,” Çavuşoğlu underlined that the scope of the authorization was broadened after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) began posing a threat against Turkey. 

“We wish that Iraq could provide for its own security and stability and not permit these terror organizations’ presence on their territories. Unfortunately, the current picture in Iraq and divisions affect its ties with regional countries,” he said. 

Blaming former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for pursuing sectarian policies which paved the way for terror organizations like ISIL to find an opportunity to occupy Mosul, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had to take its own measures to provide for its security against both ISIL and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

“Still, we support Iraq’s fight against terror. The Bashiqa camp was not founded recently. It was established within the knowledge of the Iraqi government with the objective of training local forces against DAESH [the Arabic acronym of ISIL],” he said. 

Forces at the Bashiqa camp have killed more than 750 ISIL militants so far, added the minister.

Officials from Baghdad visited the camp and provided financial assistance, Çavuşoğlu said, recalling that Turkey’s training efforts had become an issue as a result of problems within Iraqi internal politics.   

“Our stance is clear. We want a strong and stable Iraq. We attach great importance to Iraq’s territorial integrity and independence. The division of Iraq or instability inside the country is not in our interest,” he said. “We do not want to see a sectarian Iraq. We regard the entire Iraqi people as our brothers.”