Turkey, Middle East

Turkey 'bears responsibility for stability' in Iraq

Turkish PM Binali Yildirim says Turkey does 'not have a hostile attitude against Iraq or its territorial integrity'

Turkey 'bears responsibility for stability' in Iraq


By Yildiz Aktas


Turkey bears responsibility for stability in Iraq, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday following Iraqi parliament’s mischaracterization of Turkish troops in the country as “occupiers”.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Yildirim said: “We do not have a hostile attitude against Iraq or its territorial integrity.

“We bear responsibility for bringing peace and preventing conflict in the region.”

On Tuesday, the Iraqi parliament urged its government to send a diplomatic note to the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad, describing Turkish troops training Iraqi forces against Daesh as “hostile occupying forces”. It also called for a reassessment of trade and economic ties with Turkey.

The premier described statements from the Iraqi government as “dangerous and provocative”.

He pointed out the fact that Turkish troops had been in Iraq for some time. “Our soldiers did not go there today, they have been there for a long time,” he said.

He said the Turkish army was fighting against Daesh in Iraq, adding that Turkey was not the only country fighting against the terrorist group there. More than 60 countries, including the U.S. and Russia are in Iraq, he added.

On Thursday, Yildirim said Turkey’s military presence in northern Iraq’s Bashiqa Camp, where Iraqi volunteers were being trained to fight against Daesh, would continue.

On Wednesday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Iraq's ambassador in Ankara over the incident. In turn, Iraq's Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Baghdad.

Last December, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Camp Bashiqa, located some 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) northeast of the Daesh-held city of Mosul.

The deployment – which was criticized at the time by Baghdad – was aimed at protecting Turkish military personnel tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.

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