Turkish PM says a 'friendly solution' will be found on Bashiqa camp in Iraq

Turkish PM says a 'friendly solution' will be found on Bashiqa camp in Iraq

Turkish PM says a friendly solution will be found on Bashiqa camp in Iraq

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (L) and his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi, hold a joint press conference in Baghdad on Jan 7. / AA Photo

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey's Bashiqa camp in Iraq, which had caused a row between the two countries, would be resolved in a “friendly manner.”

We talked about this topic. This was not due to pleasure, it has been born out of necessity. We see that a significant step has been taken to clear Daesh from the region. In accordance with that, we will resolve this topic in a friendly manner,” said Yıldırım in a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Jan. 7, in Baghdad.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Al-Abadi, on the other hand,
said that an agreement had been reached with Turkey over an Iraqi demand that Turkish forces withdraw from the Bashiqa camp, Iraqi state TV reported, according to Reuters.

The Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq caused a rift between Turkey and Iraq, after the Iraqi parliament issued a decree for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the camp.

Turkey trains local forces at the Bashiqa camp to combat ISIL inside Iraq.

Yıldırım said Iraq's sovereignty was “very important” for Turkey and that Turkey would not either be inside or approve an act that would danger Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkey and Iraq summoned their respective ambassadors on Oct. 5, 2016, amid bitter verbal exchanges regarding Turkish troops in the Bashiqa region of Mosul.

Yıldırım's visit came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a telephone conversation last week with al-abaci.

Commenting on clearing Iraq's Sinjar region of terror organizations, Yıldırım said “necessary work will be done regarding the clearing of Sinjar from terror elements together with Peshmerga and Iraqi central government forces.”

He was referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), with which Turkish forces have been in an armed conflict since the mid-1980s.

Therefore, Sinjar poses a first-degree threat to us and we thank (Iraqi) prime minister's sensitivity in eliminating the threat,” said Yıldırım.

On Jan. 4, al-Abadi took a strong stance against the PKK using Iraq’s territory to attack Turkey.

We cannot accept the PKK’s use of Iraqi soil to launch attacks against Turkey. Our constitution also does not allow such things,” al-Abadi said at a press conference, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan 4.

We will continue cooperation (with Iraq) regarding terror facilities that aim at our country not only from Sinjar but from all of Iraqi territory,” said Yıldırım on Jan. 7.  

No terror groups to be kept on soils, Turkey and Iraq say

Meanwhile, the two countries vowed in a joint statement after the 3rd Turkey-Iraq High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting on Jan. 7 that they would not keep any terror organizations in their soils and would not allow for any actions that would pose a threat to the national security of the two countries.

The two parties have expressed that they will cooperate under the international coalition against Daesh,” the statement also said.

Commenting on the Bashiqa camp, the joint statement said the parties had stressed that the camp was an Iraqi camp. Iraq said in the statement that they had not changed their stance regarding the camp, adding that they wanted the process of Turkish troops' withdrawal to start.

Turkey, in the statement, reiterated its stance of respecting Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.