Iraq Summons Turkish Ambassador Over Troop Deployment

Turkish ambassador Iraqi President Fuad Masum

Iraq summoned the Turkish ambassador on Saturday to demand that Turkey immediately withdraw hundreds of troops deployed in recent days to northern Iraq, near the Islamic State controlled city of Mosul.

Iraqi President Fuad Masum has called on the Turkish authorities to withdraw troops from his country in order to avoid the deterioration of bilateral relations

In a statement the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that the forces had entered the Iraqi territory without informing the central government in Baghdad. It said that Iraq considers their presence an incursion and  “a hostile act.”

Earlier, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s office said the move was a “serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty”

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the troop rotation was routine and that Turkish forces had set up a camp near Mosul nearly a year ago in coordination with Iraqi authorities.

The United States was aware of Turkey’s deployment of Turkish soldiers to northern Iraq, but according to defense officials in Washington, the move is not part of the U.S.-led coalition’s activities.

Press TV reports: Turkish media reported that Ankara is erecting a base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul with 600 soldiers. However, Davutoglu rejected the report, saying the camp is not a new one.

He claimed that the camp is a pre-existing training facility established to back local volunteer forces in the battle against terrorists and is set up in coordination with the Iraqi Defense Ministry, an allegation denied by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.  

Ankara’s commitment to the fight against Daesh has been repeatedly questioned as it has been accused of seeking to attack the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, which Turkey has been bombing in northern Iraq over the past several months.

The Iraqi government has called on the international community to provide it with more arms and training to fight Daesh, but rejected direct intervention by other countries.

U.S. officials made several statements last week on plans to send more U.S. troops to Iraq. The Iraqi Government responded by saying that any deployment of foreign troops on its soil could happen without approval of its government.

Back in October a statement from the Iraqi Government said that they never asked for and did not need any US involvement in ground operations against ISIS terrorists.