Obama urges Erdogan to withdraw troops from Iraq

US and Turkish presidents discuss stepping up pressure on DAESH in phone call, Obama asks Erdogan to withdraw troops from Iraq

Photo by: Other
Photo by: Other

The White House said that US President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed efforts to strengthen the moderate Syrian opposition and step up pressure on DEASH, as well as the case of Turkish troops in Iraq, in a phone call on Friday.

The leaders discussed the fight against DEASH terrorists in Syria, including efforts to support the moderate opposition in the war-torn nation, the White House said in a statement.

The statement also said Obama urged Erdogan to withdraw troops from Iraq to "de-escalate tensions" in northern Iraq.

Erdogan, as a response, told Obama that Turkey respects Iraq’s sovereignty and the territorial integrity, the Turkish Presidency website said early on Saturday.

“President Erdogan reiterated that the Turkish security forces were deployed in Iraq to fight against DAESH, putting emphasis on the importance of security, whether in Turkey or Iraq,” said the Turkish Presidential statement.

“The two leaders, in order to release tension over diplomatic contacts and to lead military efforts in the fight against DAESH, Turkey, the US, and Iraq have agreed to work together,” it said.

“US President Barack Obama, has drew attention to the importance of Turkey’s contribution in the fight against DAESH.”

Turkey deployed around 150 troops and dispatched 20 tanks to the town of Bashiqa, located in Iraq’s northern province of Mosul, to replace troops that had been in the region for two and a half years, where they had been training Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Iraqi Army units against DAESH since last year.

Following the Dec. 4 deployment of the troops to the site near Mosul, Baghdad called the move a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and insisted the Turkish forces be withdrawn, sending a letter on December 11 to the UN Security Council demanding the withdrawal of the troops.