Iraq asks NATO to urge Turkey to pull back troops

Iraq calls on NATO to put pressure on Turkey to withdraw its troops from country’s north

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi addresses audience at a news conference in Baghdad, November 20, 2014.

Updated Dec 13, 2015

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi speaking to NATO General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone on Tuesday requested assistance in having Turkish troops removed from northern Iraq, Reuters reported. 

Earlier in the week, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wrote a letter to his Iraqi counterpart to clarify that Ankara had no intention of harming Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Davutoglu, described the deployment as a “routine troop activity,” stating that the military camp in the region was not a new one and was set up in coordination with Iraqi authorities, at the request of the governor of Mosul almost a year ago.

Iraqi Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani said on Tuesday that the deployment of Turkish troops to the town of Bashiqa near Mosul was made in line with an agreement between Turkey and Iraq.

Barzani also said that the incident of deployment was exaggerated and they were not a party intending to fuel the problem.

On December 4, the Turkish Military deployed approximately 150 soldiers and dispatched 20 tanks to the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, to replace troops that have been in the region for two and a half years, where they have been training Kurdish Peshmerga forces.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his Iraqi counterpart by phone that Turkey’s "activities aimed to contribute to the struggle against DAESH in Iraq and reiterated that the deployment had stopped," spokesman Tanju Bilgic told reporters.

"There is no withdrawal at the moment, but the deployment has stopped," Bilgic added.

TRTWorld and agencies