Turkey works on formula to take Bashiqa camp under coalition forces status
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAIn a move to diffuse tension with Baghdad over the deployment of Turkish troops to northern Iraq’s Bashiqa camp, Turkey has been working on a formula to bring the training camp under the status of the coalition forces, sources told Hürriyet Daily News.
The formula will be discussed with Iraqi officials as part of a mechanism to deepen security cooperation with Baghdad, which was agreed to during a visit by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and the head of the National Intelligence Agency (MİT), Hakan Fidan, to the neighboring country.
Ankara has been in the midst of intense diplomatic traffic recently with coalition forces leaders, including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond, over tensions between Ankara and Baghdad since last week.
Coalition forces trainers along with Iraqi officials could also take part in the work at Bashiqa, according to the formula.
Turkish troops who have been stationed at Bashiqa near Iraq’s Mosul since 2014 in order to train Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces against the threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would be reorganized in accordance with the Iraqi government’s sensitivities, sources from the Turkish Prime Ministry said on Dec. 11.
This mechanism would include security and intelligence officials and a delegation will hold talks with Baghdad soon, sources also said.
The row, which has soured relations between the neighboring countries, saw the Turkish ambassador to Iraq summoned on Dec. 5 to demand that Turkey immediately withdraw hundreds of troops deployed in recent days in northern Iraq, near ISIL-controlled Mosul.
Iraq’s Foreign Ministry said Turkish forces had entered Iraqi territory without the knowledge of Baghdad, which viewed their presence as a “hostile act.”