Iraq appeals to UNSC for withdrawal of Turkish troops

Iraq appeals to United Nations Security Council to demand unconditional withdrawal of Turkish troops deployed in Mosul to train, advise Iraqi forces fighting against DAESH

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

File photo of United Nations Security Council members casting their votes during a meeting

Iraq has asked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to demand the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Mosul, Turkey has said deployments purpose is to replace the troops that have been training Peshmerga forces in the region since 2014.

Permanent Representative of Iraq to the UN Mohamed Ali Alhakim sent a letter to the US Ambassador to the United Nations and the current President of the UN Security Council Samantha Power this month that read: “We call on the Security Council to demand that Turkey withdraw its forces immediately ... and not to violate Iraqi sovereignty again."

"This is considered a flagrant violation of the principles of the UN Charter, and a violation of Iraqi territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Iraq," he said in the letter.

On December 4, the Turkish Military deployed approximately 150 soldiers and dispatched 20 tanks to the Turkish military camp in Mosul, which was set up with the request and knowledge of the Iraqi government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking in an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday said that Turkish soldiers have been in Iraq since 2014, upon the request of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi.

‘’During a visit to Turkey in 2014, Haider al Abadi asked us to support them by giving military training and upon that a military camp was established in Bashiqa region of Iraq. They know this fact very well. Now I am asking why they have been silent over Turkish troops since that time?’’ Erdogan stated.

According to Turkish authorities, the mission was carried out to replace troops that have been training Peshmerga forces against homemade explosives and on the use of machine guns, mortars and artillery.

Iraqi president, prime minister and foreign ministry are opposed to the Turkish deployment, defining it as a “hostile act.”

On December 6, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi said that Iraq had the right to use all available options, including going to the United Nations Security Council, if Turkish troops in Iraq were not withdrawn within 2 days.

Following Abadi’s call, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic announced that Turkey has sent troops to northern Iraq exclusively for training the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) Peshmerga forces and Iraqi National Army against the DAESH terrorist threat, adding that they will continue to stay in the region.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also has written a letter to his Iraqi counterpart in which he clarifies the activities and the duties of the Turkish Armed Forces deployed in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul emphasizing that Ankara has no intention of harming Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Speaking to NATO General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone on December 9 Abadi requested assistance with having Turkish troops removed from northern Iraq. However his decision to appeal UNSC came right after Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Intelligence Chief Hakan Fidan paid a visit to Iraq on Thursday.

Previously, Russia had asked the United Nations (UN) Security Council on December 8 to discuss Turkish military action in Iraq and Syria, as tensions continue to rise between Moscow and Ankara, after Turkey shot a Russian jet that violated its airspace on November 24.

TRTWorld and agencies