Prime Minister Binali Yildirim detailed Turkey’s purpose in Iraq on Sunday.
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 U.S. has a plan [for an operation] led by the Iraqi government to clear the city of Daesh elements. We say, we support this plan,” said the prime minister.
“Turkish military forces are training locals in fighting Daesh, it is very clear,” said Yildirim at a press conference in Istanbul.
The presence of Turkish troops has recently been criticized by Baghdad. Yildirim said Thursday that Turkey's military presence in Bashiqa would continue despite the Iraqi parliament mislabeling Turkish troops in the country as “occupiers” earlier this week.
The prime minister went on to say Sunday that “Mosul belongs to the [people of Mosul]. Do not let outsiders in and ruin the original demographic fabric [of the city], which might lead to a new civil war. We follow this attentively.”
Iraq has suffered a devastating security vacuum since mid-2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul and overran large swathes of territory in the northern and western parts of the country.
According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.