US calls on Turkey to ‘withdraw unauthorized forces from Iraq’

US calls on Turkey to ‘withdraw unauthorized forces from Iraq’

US calls on Turkey to ‘withdraw unauthorized forces from Iraq’

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the ?100,000 Strong in the Americas? event, Monday, Dec. 14, 2015. AP Photo

The White House has called on Turkey to withdraw unauthorized forces from Iraqi territory while also condemning the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack on a Sunni military camp in the Bashiqa region of northern Iraq, in which four Turkish soldiers were wounded. 

A press release from the Office of the Vice President of the U.S. provided details of a phone call between Vice President Joe Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Dec. 16, during which Biden reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. 

“Both leaders welcomed the initial indications of the withdrawal of some Turkish forces and agreed this should continue, reiterating that any foreign forces can only be present in Iraq with the coordination and permission of the Iraqi government,” the statement said. 

Biden urged Turkey to withdraw “any military forces from Iraqi territory that have not been authorized by the Iraqi government,” it added. 

The White House also condemned the ISIL attack against a military training base in northern Iraq on Dec. 16, in which four Turkish soldiers were injured before responding with howitzer fire. 

“As we work to confirm the facts, we condemn any such attack and offer our condolences for any injury or loss of life,” Biden’s office said. 

“Now more than ever, it will be important for Iraq and Turkey to accelerate their efforts to de-escalate tensions, ensure dialogue remains constructive, reaffirm support for Iraqi security and sovereignty, and strengthen their cooperation against ISIL,” the statement added, reiterating the need to increase dialogue between Turkey and Iraq.