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Why all the heavy weaponry, Iraq asks Turkey

7 December 2015 7:29


The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi casts doubts over Turkey’s claims that the purpose of deployment of Turkish soldiers to northern Iraq has been to train the Peshmerga fighters fighting the Takfiri Daesh terror group. 

Saad al-Hadithi, a spokesman for the Iraqi premier, on Sunday expressed serious doubts over the proclaimed intention of Turkish troops who are stationed on the Iraqi soil near the northern city of Mosul.

Al-Hadithi asked, if Baghdad were to optimistically accept Ankara’s justification that Turkish troops were positioned near Mosul to train the Peshmerga forces, then why have all the heavy military equipment including tanks been deployed to the region?

Al-Abadi also said Iraq might turn to the UN Security Council if Turkish troops sent to his country were not withdrawn within 48 hours.

“Iraq has the right to use all available options, including resorting to the UN Security Council if these forces are not withdrawn within 48 hours,” Abadi said in a statement.

This came after a Turkish security source said that several hundred Turkish forces equipped with tanks and artillery 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 media reported that Ankara is erecting a base in the Bashiqa region of Mosul with 600 soldiers.

The Iraqi prime minister has called on Turkey to immediately withdraw its forces from northern Iraq, calling Ankara’s move “an incursion”.

Al-Abadi’s media office said in a statement early on Saturday that the entry of “around one armed battalion” of Turkish troops to the northern Nineveh Province was a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty,.

“The Iraqi authorities call on Turkey to respect good neighborly relations and to withdraw immediately from the Iraqi territory,” the statement said.

A Turkish army tank (AP)

It also stressed that the Turkish troops entered “without the request or authorization from the Iraqi federal authorities,” which amounts to a “serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty.”

Iraqi President Fuad Masum has also said the deployment of the Turkish troops near Mosul is “a violation of international norms and law.”

Ankara’s commitment to the fight against Daesh has been repeatedly questioned as it has been accused of using the campaign as a cover to attack the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, whom 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.

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