Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkish troops will continue to stay in Iraq’s Mosul as long as the DAESH terrorist threat exists in the northern areas of the country.
Erdogan has said, “Turkey’s position [concerning northern Iraq] can not be resembled with any other country in the region because we have constantly been under threat by DAESH and other terrorist groups,” speaking to journalists last weekend on his plane while returning from his Turkmenistan visit.
“Our deployment has been there [in northern Iraq] because of the terrorist threats,” he emphasised.
Turkish Armed Forces on Dec. 4 deployed around 150 soldiers and 25 tanks to the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, to replace the troops that have reportedly been training Peshmerga forces in the region since March 2015.
Turkish president underlined that, “Bashiqa is currently controlled by the central government [of Iraq]. There is another area which was controlled by [Kurdistan] Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq where our soldiers and delegations have been training [respective forces].”
“Our mission should be there due to our campaign against DAESH and other terrorist organisations [in the region] which are continuing to be an active threat against us,” he added.
Erdogan previously said that Turkish soldiers will continue to stay in Iraq's Mosul because they have been stationed there for training purposes at the request of the Iraqi government.
“Our soldiers stationed [in Mosul] have not been stationed there as combat troops. They are there as trainees. Their task in the Bashika camp and another camp is currently to train [Iraqi armed forces],” he stated in a speech on Dec. 10.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency has reported on Monday, citing military sources, that some of the Turkish troops from Bashiqa training camp have been relocated in another area of northern Iraq as part of a new arrangement.
The troops left the camp with a convoy of 10 to 12 vehicles, sources said, without giving further information about the number of relocated soldiers.