Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari (AFP)
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has called on Arab states to pressure Turkey into withdrawing its forces deployed in Iraq.
“We have called on the Turkish government many times via diplomats to return their forces to Turkey,” said Jaafari during the 27th Arab League Summit held in Mauritania’s capital Nouakchott on Monday.
He noted that Turkey had vowed to withdraw its troops, but is yet to abide by its promise. He further stressed that Iraq had no need for Turkish troops on its soil.
Last December, Turkey deployed some 150 soldiers, equipped with heavy weapons and backed by 20 to 25 tanks, to the outskirts of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.
Ankara claimed the deployment was part of a mission to train and equip Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh terrorists, but Baghdad denounced the unauthorized move as a violation of Iraq’s national sovereignty.
“Iraq’s policy of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and its commitment to good relations with Turkey does not mean it is prepared to neglect its sovereignty, which is still violated by the Turkish forces,” Jaafari said.
In June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (seen above) said that Baghdad was harboring serious concerns over Ankara’s intended plans for the country’s second-largest city of Mosul, adding that any interference in the northern city would result in an extended and bloody war in the region.