Iraq asks NATO to pressure Turkey to pull troops from northern Iraq

Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in a statement asked NATO to pressure Turkey's withdrawal.

Erbil, Kurdistan Region (K24)— Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in a statement asked NATO to pressure Turkey's withdrawal. He added that Turkey’s deployment in Iraq is a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. 

"NATO must use its authority to urge Turkey to withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory," Abadi said in the statement.

Abadi spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone, the statement added. Abadi had given a 48-hour deadline to Turkey to withdraw its 150 soldiers from Iraq, but the deadline expired today. 

In response, Ankara announced they will not deploy more troops to Iraq but will not withdraw their forces from Iraq either, which is a heavily armed contingent near the frontline with the Islamic State close to Mosul, which created controversy in a war that has already drawn in many countries. 

Ankara says its troops are in Iraq to train Iraqi forces and that Iraq was aware of the decision. “Training at this camp began with the knowledge of the Iraqi Defense Ministry and police,” said Prime Minister Ahmad Davutoglu in a meeting of deputies from his ruling AKP party. Iraq asserts they were not informed of such a decision and was decided without their consent. 

Tanju Bilgic, a Turkish spokesman, spoke to the reporters in a press conference. He said that on Monday, Mevlut Cavusgol Turkish Foreign Minister talked to his Iraqi counterpart on the phone. “He (Cavusoglu) said that our activities aimed to contribute to the struggle against Daesh [ISIS] in Iraq and reiterated that the deployment had stopped. There is not withdrawal at the moment, but the deployment has stopped.” 

The spokesperson added that those who misinterpret Turkey's military presence in Mosul are deliberately trying to provoke tension.

Iran and Russia have been sharply critical of the deployments. Davutoglu warned that if Iran continues “insults and attacks,” the Tehran-Ankara friendship “will suffer great harm.”