Iraqi PM says no solution to crisis without Turkish troops’ withdrawal
BAGHDAD – Anadolu Agency
AP photoIraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said the solution of the Iraqi-Turkey “crisis” over the deployment of Turkish troops near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul could only be solved with a “full withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraqi territory.”
The statement issued by the Iraqi Prime Ministry’s media office came after a visit to Baghdad on Dec. 10 by a Turkish delegation headed by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and the head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), Hakan Fidan.
The withdrawal of Turkish forces would pave the way for “positive relations, coordination and cooperation between the two neighboring countries in various fields,” the statement said.
The Turkish delegation expressed “Turkey’s commitment to respect Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to stand with Iraq in the fight against the terrorism of Daesh,” added the statement, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The recent deployment of Turkish military troops to Bashiqa, near Mosul, caused a diplomatic spat between Ankara and Baghdad.
However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated Dec. 10 that Turkey’s presence in northern Iraq was not new. He said that, since 2014, Ankara has been training Peshmerga forces - the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) army - following a request from Mosul’s governor.
Approximately 150 Turkish soldiers were deployed near Mosul on Dec. 4 to replace training forces already in the area. In addition, 20-25 tanks were also deployed to the region.
Al-Abadi had described the infusion of troops and equipment as a violation of his country’s sovereignty and contrary to good neighbor principles.