Turkey says relocation of defense troops in Iraq ongoing

Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz says rearrangement of Turkish defense troops in Iraq continues

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz is seen in the file photo

Turkey’s Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz said on Friday "Turkish military training personnel are still in Iraq while relocation of our defense troops continues’’ as he answered questions regarding the present situation of the military camp in Iraq’s Bashiqa region.

Yilmaz’s remarks came recently after an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Thursday, which resulted in a demand for full withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraq.

We stand as Arab countries along with Iraq and we call on Turkey to immediately withdraw its military forces from Iraq and respect the international border between the two countries, said a statement released after the meeting.

Turkey had deployed about 150 troops and 25 tanks to the camp in Bashiqa on Dec. 4 to increase the security of personnel who have been training the local forces fighting against DAESH terror group 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to the site near Mosul, Baghdad called the move a "violation of Iraqi sovereignty" and insisted the Turkish forces be withdrawn.

In relation to that, Turkey relocated some of its troops last week from Bashiqa training camp to another region of northern Iraq as part of a new arrangement.

"Taking into account the sensitivities on the Iraqi side... Turkey will continue the process it has already begun to withdraw its troops stationed in Mosul province," Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Dec.19.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday that the Turkish military would still keep training forces to better combat the DAESH terrorist group.

“Our additional troops have primarily been in the respective region in order to increase our sensitivities for combating against DAESH and protecting our soldiers better,” Kurtulmus told journalists during a cabinet meeting.

''Some of our military elements have currently been withdrawn to rear lines in the region. However, I would like to express that [our forces] have sensitively been on the alert without endangering our presence there and other places,” Kurtulmus, who is also the spokesperson of the Turkish government, said.

TRTWorld and agencies