President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the recent DAESH attack on Turkish troops stationed in Iraq's Bashiqa camp justifies Turkey's decision to not withdraw completely from the region.
Turkish troops repulsed an attack on the Bashiqa military training camp near Mosul late Thursday and killed at least 18 DAESH terrorists.
"I have been told that some 18 DAESH terrorists who tried to sneak into the Bashiqa camp were neutralised," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Friday that there were no casualties among the Turkish troops.
"Of course this [attack] only proves just how appropriate was the step taken regarding the camp," he said, referring to Turkey's decision to send reinforcement units to the camp in early December.
Turkey has been running a military program at the camp in order to provide training to Iraqi armed forces and Peshmergas as part of its fight against DAESH.
On Dec. 4, Turkey reinforced the protection component of its units at the camp due to increasing security threats.
The deployment sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Iraq.
Following a series of bilateral talks to alleviate Iraq’s concerns, Turkey rearranged the number of its troops in Bashiqa on Dec. 14, with the additional troops having been pulled back to rear positions.
Turkey said at the time that 150 soldiers and up to 25 tanks were stationed in Bashiqa to protect Turkish servicemen training Iraqi volunteers to fight DAESH.
The training mission had been in northern Iraq since March 2015 and has not been assigned to combat duties according to Turkish authorities.