Turkey says Iraq troop deployment to 'counter Daesh threats'
Iran Press TV
Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:59AM
Turkey has reacted to the Arab League's condemnation of Turkish troops' deployment in northern Iraq, claiming that the military presence in the war-torn Arab country is aimed at countering threats posed by the Takfiri Daesh terrorists in the region.
Addressing a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Thursday, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby denounced the Turkish military incursion into Iraq as "a clear violation of international law and Iraqi sovereignty," calling on Turkey to "withdraw its troops immediately from Iraq."
The extraordinary meeting of Arab ministers in Egypt was held upon a request from Iraq.
A statement from the Arab foreign ministers said the Turkish deployment "is an assault on Iraqi sovereignty and a threat to Arab national security."
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said on Saturday that the Arab League stance shows that it does not fully understand the importance of Ankara's efforts against Daesh.
"The statement of the Arab League, unfortunately, reveals that it has not comprehended both the extent of the threats posed by Daesh to mainly Iraq and our region, and Turkey's self-sacrificing and resolved efforts in the face of this threat," Bilgic said.
The Turkish diplomat said Ankara is determined to negotiate with Baghdad to maintain mechanisms necessary to deepen bilateral cooperation against Takfiri terrorists.
On December 4, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of the city of Mosul, the capital of Iraq's Nineveh Province. Ankara claimed the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh.
Baghdad, however, strongly condemned the presence of the Turkish battalion on the Iraqi territory, branding the uncoordinated act as a violation of Iraq's national sovereignty.
Iraq officially filed a complaint with the United Nations Security Council, calling on the international body to ensure an immediate pullout of the Turkish forces from the Arab state.
On December 19, Turkey announced that it had begun withdrawing troops following an appeal by US President Barack Obama.
In a phone conversation the day earlier, Obama urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull out troops in a bid to de-escalate tensions and respect Iraq's integrity as a sovereign nation.
However, reports emerged saying that Turkey was moving its troops to another base inside Iraq's Kurdistan region.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since Daesh began its atrocities in June 2014.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|