Turkish PM discusses reorganization of Turkish troops in Iraq with Biden
AP photoU.S. Vice President Joe Biden has welcomed the partial withdrawal of Turkish troops from a camp in northern Iraq and urged Turkey to continue trying to cooperate with Baghdad during a phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
In a call with Davutoglu, Biden said the removal of some of the Turkish troops from the Bashiqa Camp near Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)-held city of Mosul was “an important step to de-escalate recent tensions,” the White House said in a statement. Biden reiterated that Iraq’s government must consent to any foreign military presence there.
A number of Turkish troops were transferred to a region under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in a convoy that included tanks from the Bashiqa Camp near Mosul on Dec. 14, Turkish sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“The vice president encouraged the Turkish government to continue its dialogue with Baghdad on additional measures to improve relations between Turkey and Iraq,” the White House statement said.
Meanwhile, the state-run Anadolu Agency cited prime ministry sources as saying the request for the call had come from the United States, adding that the two also discussed the cooperation in the fight against ISIL.
Davutoğlu and Biden have also agreed to hold talks once again according to developments in the coming days, Anadolu Agency reported.
This call is the second conversation between Davutoğlu and Biden over the past week. The two talked over the phone Dec. 10 about efforts by the U.S. and Turkey to combat ISIL and the importance of defusing recent tensions between Turkey and Iraq in a manner that respects Iraqi sovereignty and fully coordinates efforts against ISIL with the coalition.