Arab League chief chastised by Turkey over Mosul remarks

Turkish Foreign Ministry says criticism of Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al Arabi on country’s military deployment in northern Iraqi province of Mosul does not represent organisation’s views

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al Arabi attends a news conference after the South American-Arab Countries Summit, in Riyadh on Nov. 11, 2015.

Updated Dec 9, 2015

Turkey has rejected Tuesday the remarks of Arab League Chief Nabil al Arabi who claimed that Turkey militarily had "intervened" in Iraqi territory.

Following the deployment of Turkish soldiers near the Iraqi city of Mosul, al Arabi criticized Monday what he called a Turkish "intervention."

"We understand that al Arabi's remarks, concerning the Turkish military presence at a training camp in Iraq was not subject to prior consultations within the Arab League, and as such they reflect his own personal views," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said.

Bilgic added, "Therefore, these remarks, emanating from the aforementioned who had previously made similar statements against Turkey, which were not connected with his organization, have no weight or validity whatsoever."

Turkish troops deployed near the Iraqi city of Mosul had been training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern provinces for two-and-a-half years.

Approximately 150 Turkish soldiers were deployed near the city last Friday to replace training forces already in the area. In addition, 20 to 25 tanks were also sent to the region.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi had described the influx of troops and equipment as a violation of his country's sovereignty and contrary to good-neighbor principles.

The prime minister's office said Sunday that Iraq had the right to use all available options, including resorting to the UN Security Council, if the "foreign forces" were not withdrawn within 48 hours.

During his weekly address to the press on Tuesday, spokesman Bilgic said Turkey will contribute "as much as possible" to Iraq's struggle against Daesh.

He said: "Within this framework, we are respectful of the Iraqi government's territorial integrity and sovereignty."