Posted on October 12, 2016 by Editorial Staff in Politics
Turkish deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus. Photo: Courtesy/byegm.gov.tr
ANKARA,— Turkish troops will remain in the Bashiqa military camp in northern Iraq until Islamic State militants have been driven from the nearby city of Mosul, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told state-run Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
In the interview, broadcast live on the state-run TRT Haber channel, Kurtulmus said Turkey would participate in the operation to push the jihadists out of Mosul as long as the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia was not involved.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi hit back on Tuesday against dismissive comments by Turkey’s president, mocking his appeal to the nation via video call during a failed coup attempt.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Abadi earlier in the day to “know your place,” and said that he is “not on my level” — another escalation in the war of words between the two sides over Ankara’s deployment of troops in Iraq’s north.
“We will liberate our land through the determination of our men and not by video calls,” Abadi’s official Twitter account said.
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 new Turkish troops had arrived without their knowledge or approval, calling it a violation of its sovereignty.
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.