Posted December 08, 2015 06:18:40

Turkey says it will not withdraw hundreds of soldiers who arrived last week at a base in northern Iraq regardless of being ordered by Baghdad to pull them out within 48 hours.

Essential points

  • Turkey will not withdraw hundreds of soldiers deployed to northern Iraq without having permission
  • Iraq says it will take case to UN Safety Council if troops were not withdrawn
  • Turkish presence a key embarrassment for Iraq’s prime minister
  • Turkey claims its troops are on a coaching mission

The sudden arrival of such a massive and heavily armed Turkish contingent in a camp close to the frontline in northern Iraq has added yet an additional controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State (IS) fighters that has drawn in most of the world’s significant powers.

Ankara mentioned the troops have been there as element of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight against IS.

The Iraqi government said it never invited such a force, and would take its case to the United Nations if they had been not pulled out.

Washington, which is major an international coalition against Islamic State that contains Turkey, Arab states and European powers like Britain and France, has told Ankara and Baghdad to resolve the standoff, and says it does not support deployments in Iraq without Baghdad’s consent.

The Turkish troops’ presence is an embarrassment for Iraqi prime minister Haidar Abadi, below sturdy stress from effective Iran-backed Shiite political groups to kick them out.

Shiite parties linked to militia groups armed and funded by Iran have also complained about US plans to station particular forces in Iraq to conduct raids and guide bombs against Islamic State.

Political stress on Mr Abadi could make these plans far more difficult to carry out.

Turkey claims presence ‘not a secret’

The troops arrived on Thursday with tanks and armoured personnel carriers at a camp in territory held by Iraqi Kurds near the Islamic State-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Ankara mentioned they were there to aid shield a training mission close to the front line.

“It is our duty to supply security for our soldiers supplying education there,” Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview on Turkey’s Kanal 24 television.

“Everyone is present in Iraq … The purpose of all of them is clear. Train-and-equip advisory support is becoming supplied. Our presence there is not a secret,” he added.

Mr Abadi has known as the Turkish deployment a violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi stated Iraq was nevertheless waiting for Turkey to respond officially.

“In case we have not received any good signs ahead of the deadline we set for the Turkish side, then we keep our legal appropriate to file a complaint to the Security Council to quit this significant violation to Iraqi sovereignty,” he said.

A senior Turkish official stated Baghdad’s objections had come as a surprise: “There was no single improvement … that happened without having informing the central government.”

“The military personnel for training will keep. Not due to the fact we want them [there] especially, but since there is a demand from the Iraqi side,” the official added.

“The discussion with the central government nevertheless continues.”

He stated the total quantity of Turkish troops across Iraq was a lot significantly less than 1,000 soldiers, with some getting arrived from Turkey and other folks sent to the base from other parts of Iraq.

Islamic State militants overran Mosul, Iraq’s principal northern city and residence to around two million folks, in June 2014. An anticipated counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are involved in fighting elsewhere.


Topics: unrest-conflict-and-war, planet-politics, foreign-affairs, iraq

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