Turkey sends ‘reconciliation delegation’ to Baghdad
Sevil ERKUŞ - ANKARA
AA PhotoTurkey sent a delegation to Baghdad on Oct. 17 for talks with the Iraqi administration, aiming for Baghdad to reconsider its objection to Turkish troops stationed in northern Iraq.
The delegation will discuss the mandate and task duration of Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp in Mosul province. A previous proposal by Ankara to bring the Bashiqa camp within the status of the anti-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces is also on the agenda, sources said.
In 2015, Ankara had proposed that the U.S. should continue training in the camp under the mandate of coalition forces, including elements of the Iraqi army, but did not receive a positive response.
Turkey wants its troops to continue their duties in Bashiqa until the coalition forces entirely clear ISIL out of Iraq.
Turkish troops to ‘keep defensive position in Bashiqa’
The sources stressed that the Turkish troops in Bashiqa are not combatant forces and will stay in the camp throughout the Mosul offensive. However, they will respond with artillery shooting in the event of an ISIL threat against the camp or the surrounding region.
US assures of Tel Afar operation
Meanwhile, Ankara has repeatedly voiced concern over any possible “revenge killings” against Sunni locals in Tel Afar if Shia militias take part in the upcoming offensive to retake the town. In talks with Turkey, the U.S. has reportedly given assurances that only the Iraqi army and police will be tasked in an offensive into Tel Afar after the Mosul operation.