Iraq to consider military action if Turkish troops remain

Iraqi foreign minister repeats demand that Turkish troops withdraw from Bashiqa, saying his country will consider military action otherwise

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari speaks to reporters during a news conference in Baghdad, Iraq December 30, 2015

Updated Dec 31, 2015

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari stated on Wednesday that Iraq will consider military action if the Turkish soldiers remain in the country, though it wants a peaceful resolution to the issue.

“If we are forced to fight and defend our sovereignty and riches, we will be forced to fight," Jaafari told reporters in Baghdad.

"If there is no other solution but this [military action], then we will adopt this solution," he continued.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the disagreement over Turkish troop deployment was the result of "miscommunication" between the two countries and stated that Turkey respects Iraq's sovereignty.

"If Baghdad wants to use force, they should use it against DAESH," Davutoglu said, pointing out that Iraq is not in control of one third of its own territory. 

Turkey deployed about 150 troops and 25 tanks to its military camp in the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul on Dec. 4 to increase the security of personnel who have been training the local forces fighting against the DAESH terror group since last year.

Following the deployment, Baghdad called the move a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and insisted the Turkish forces be withdrawn.

Following a visit by a Turkish delegation to Baghdad, Turkey relocated some of its troops last week from Bashiqa training camp to another region of northern Iraq as part of a new arrangement.

However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Turkish troops giving training to Peshmerga forces 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 resemble that of any other country in the region because we have constantly been under threat by DAESH and other terrorist groups."

DAESH captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city after the capital Baghdad, in the summer of 2014 to create a corridor linking the group to its branch in Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies