Posted on October 9, 2016 by Editorial Staff in 1 Top News, Politics, Politics
A Turkish tank on Syrian border. Photo: AFP
SULAIMANI, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— The five Kurdish political blocs in the Kurdistan Parliament released on Saturday a mutual statement calling the deployment of Turkish troops to northern Iraq “illegal and unconstitutional.” demanding that Turkey immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq.
MPs of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Change Movement (Gorran), Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG), Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM) and Kurdistan Communist Party also demanded an immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraqi territory.
“For our region to be powerful and safe, and to take more steps towards patriotic and national goals, we need to not make it a part of regional and international conflicts,” the statement said.
“The [Kurdistan] region should not engage in any conflict that impacts the Kurdish nationalist movement,” the blocs added.
MPs also called Turkey’s military incursions into the region a “transparent breach of the Kurdistan Region’s sovereignty and a violation of the decision of its parliament.”
Turkey’s deputy prime minister said on Oct. 5. that Turkish troops deployed to northern Iraq in 2015 entered the country to train local fighters at the request of Kurdistan Democratic Party KDP leader Massoud Barzani.
Iraq has publicly urged Ankara to withdraw its troops from its base in Bashiqa and warned against Turkish involvement in the long-anticipated Mosul operation against the Islamic State (IS).
Turkey’s parliament voted on October 1, to extend the deployment of an estimated 2,000 troops across northern Iraq.
The mandate will allow the army to engage in military activities inside Iraq and Syria against armed groups that Ankara deems to be a threat to Turkey.
The Iraqi parliament, in a majority vote on Tuesday, rejected the extension of the mandate of Turkish troops in Iraq and called for a review of relations with Turkey.
Iraq condemned the vote, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned Turkey risked triggering aregional war. On Wednesday, Ankara and Baghdad summoned the other’s ambassadors in protest at remarks from the other’s camp.
On October 6, Iraq has requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Turkey’s military presence on its soil, state television said on Thursday, as a dispute with Ankara over the troops escalated.
On Saturday, several Iraqi leaders across the country, including the influential Shiite strongman Ammar Al-Hakeem, called on Turkey to withdraw its troops before the Mosul operation starts and avert possible sectarian tensions between rival groups in the country.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on October 6, that Iraq’s reaction to Turkey’s military presence at the Bashiqa army base north of Mosul is “incomprehensible” and the soldiers will remain there to ensure the region’s demographics do not change,
There are 800 Turkish troops deployed in the Mosul and Shaqlawa regions, the move that sparked a crisis between Ankara and Baghdad. Turkey sent a contingent of an additional 150 forces and 25 tanks in December 2015 to bolster its military presence in the Bashiqa camp, an area that has seen recent fighting.
Iraqi leaders said in December 2015 that hundreds of Turkish troops had arrived without their knowledge or approval, calling it a violation of its sovereignty.
The Turkish troops are still present in Nineveh province, based at Camp Bashiq, 70 kilometres west of Iraqi Kurdistan capital of Erbil.
Baghdad condemned the move, saying Turkey was not authorized to deploy combat personnel and demanded an immediate withdrawal. Ankara refused, defending the presence as necessary to protect its base, where Turkish troops are allegedly training Sunni Arab Hashd al-Watani militiamen to combat IS.