Iraq plays down quarrel with Turkey over troop deployment

Bilateral talks between Turkey and Iraq proceeding favourably, says Iraqi ambassador to United Nations

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Members of the United Nations Security Council gather for meeting about the situation in the Middle East in the Manhattan borough of New York November 16, 2015

The ongoing dispute between Baghdad and Ankara over the deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq was played down on Tuesday by Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations.

"We are solving it between Baghdad and Ankara bilaterally," Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told reporters.

Alhakim’s statement came a day after Russia asked the UN Security Council to discuss Turkish military action in Iraq and Syria, during a closed-door meeting.

“We have not yet escalated it to the Security Council or to the United Nations."

"For us, what is helpful is the bilateral discussion going on right now between Baghdad and Ankara, and it's going extremely well," he said, noting that Russia had not consulted Iraq when raising the issue at the security council. 

However, Alhakim did state that Baghdad wanted the Turkish troops withdrawn from northern Iraq. 

Turkey said the deployment of troops was nothing new and that it was a move previously agreed with Iraq.

US Ambassador Samantha Power told reporters that this was also her understanding of the issue. 

Ankara said its troops' activities are aimed at training Iraqi soldiers in order to fight against DAESH terrorists, who have been in control of wide swathes of Syria and Iraq since 2014.

Relations between Russia and Turkey have declined since the country shot down a Russian warplane on November 24 over airspace violation. 

Diplomats have stated that this was the initial reason why Russia raised the issue to the UN. 

Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, disappointed with the outcome of the discussion said, "Our idea was to call the attention of the members of the Security Council to the situation." 

TRTWorld and agencies