Iraq: Turkey not respecting deal on retreating troops

Turkey has deployed troops to a base in Nineveh where it has training program anti-ISIS forces

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Wednesday that Turkey had not respected a commitment to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq.

He reaffirmed, during a call to the Turkish prime ministers, that he refuses any military Turkish presence in Iraq without the knowledge and consent of Baghdad.


Abadi said in a statement that a Turkish delegation to Iraq had promised to announce upon returning to Ankara that Turkey would withdraw its troops, “but the Turkish government has not respected the agreement and we request that the Turkish government announce immediately that it will withdraw from Iraqi territory.”

However, Reuters quoted Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying “if Baghdad wants to use force, it should be against ISIS after his Iraqi counterpart threatened possible military action over Turkish troops deployed in northern Iraq.

Speaking during an interview on NTV, Davutoglu acknowledged there had been "miscommunication" over the troop deployment. He said that Ankara respected Iraqi sovereignty but added that Baghdad is not in control one third of its own territory.

Turkey announced earlier that it had begun withdrawing troops in a bid to soothe a bitter row with Baghdad and following a call from U.S. President Barack Obama.

“Taking into account the sensitivities on the Iraqi side... Turkey will continue the process it has already begun to withdraw its troops stationed” near Mosul, the Turkish foreign ministry said.

Earlier this month, Turkey deployed troops to a base in Nineveh province where it has a long-running training program for forces battling the ISIS group.

Ankara insisted the deployment was routine and necessary to protect the trainers, while Baghdad said it was unauthorized and protested to the U.N. Security Council.

(With Reuters)

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