Iraq condemns Turkish incursion, calls on Ankara to withdraw forces
The Iraqi prime minister has called on Turkey to immediately withdraw its forces from northern Iraq, calling Ankara’s move “an incursion”.
The entry of “around one armed battalion” of Turkish troops to the northern Nineveh province was a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, Haider al-Abadi’s media office said in a statement early on Saturday.
“The Iraqi authorities call on Turkey to respect good neighborly relations and to withdraw immediately from the Iraqi territory,” the statement added.
It also stressed that the Turkish troops entered “without the request or authorization from the Iraqi federal authorities,” which is a “serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty.”
On Friday, Reuters cited a Turkish security source as saying that several hundred Turkish forces had been dispatched to a military base on the outskirts of the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, to provide training for Iraqi soldiers.
“Turkish soldiers have reached the Mosul Bashiqa region. They are there as part of routine training exercises. One battalion has crossed into the region,” the source said.
He also noted that the troops had already been in the Iraqi Kurdistan and had moved to Mosul accompanied by armored vehicles, in a move known by the countries who are members of the so-called US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh.
A video footage released on the website of Turkey’s Yeni Safak newspaper showed flatbed trucks carrying armored vehicles along a road at night, calling them a convoy accompanying the Turkish soldiers to Bashiqa.