Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated on Saturday that the troop replacement in a Turkish military camp in Bashiqa, a town located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, was a "routine rotation activity."
Davutoglu emphasized that the military camp in the region was not a new one, as it was set up to coordinate with Iraqi authorities almost one year ago following a request by the Mosul governor.
"This camp was established as a training camp for a force of local volunteers fighting against terrorism," Davutoglu said.
"It has trained more than 2,000 of our Mosul brothers, contributing to the freeing of Mosul from DAESH terrorist group," he added.
On Friday, Turkish Armed Forces deployed around 150 soldiers and 20 tanks to Bashiqa as part of a mission carried out to replace troops that have been in the region for almost two and a half years.
According to the Turkish Army, the troops have been training Peshmerga forces for almost one year against homemade explosives and to use machine guns, mortars and artillery.
Davutoglu’s comments came after Iraqi President Fuad Masum claimed on Saturday that the deployment of Turkish soldiers is a “violation” of international norms.
Masum had said "The presence of the Turkish Army Forces in Mosul Province without our permission is violating international rules. I want Turkish officials to get the force out of Iraq territory immediately."
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi slammed Turkey’s move by saying "We have confirmation that Turkish forces, numbering about one armoured regiment with a number of tanks and artillery entered Iraqi territory allegedly to train Iraqi groups, without a request or authorisation from Iraqi federal authorities."
Davutoglu stated that Turkey’s priority is peace and stability in Iraq and Syria, adding that these two countries should get rid of all terrorist groups including DAESH and PKK.
“There are some reports about the deployment of Turkish soldiers in Mosul causing misinterpretation. Our support to our Mosul brothers should not be interpreted wrongly.” he said referring to the international media outlets claiming that Turkey had expanded its ground operation in Iraq.
“Turkey does not have an eye on any country’s soil. Turkey’s fight is against terrorism and terrorist organizations,” he said.