The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has summoned Turkey’s ambassador to protest the continued presence of Turkish troops on Iraqi soil without Baghdad's permission.
Ahmed Jamal, a spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday that the ambassador was given "a strongly worded formal note of protest" on "the continued presence of Turkish forces near Bashiqa and recent abusive statements from their leadership."
This comes a few days after Ankara shrugged off Bagdad’s repeated calls for withdrawing the troops.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said Ankara will not pull out the troops "no matter what the Iraqi government in Baghdad says."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defiantly warned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to know his limits.
Reacting to remarks by Erdogan, Sa'ad al-Hadithi, the spokesman for Abadi's office, said on Tuesday that the "irresponsible statements by [the] Turkish president could pour oil on fire and fuel further tensions." He also stressed that Baghdad sought to avoid a war of words with Ankara.
Hadithi made the remarks shortly after Erdogan said the Turkish army would not take orders from Iraq to leave the country.
‘Mosul operation to trigger refugee wave’
In another development on Thursday, Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey's presidential spokesman, said that any mistake in a planned operation to push Daesh out of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul could result in thousands of refugees.
The spokesperson also voiced concern about reports of a Kurdish militant role in the offensive.
Kalin added that Turkey had no secret agenda in Iraq and was in favor of solving problems with Baghdad through dialogue.
Turkey seeks to maintain an estimated two thousand troops in northern Iraq, claiming the move is aimed at battling terror groups.
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the presence of the Turkish troops in Iraq as well as a decision by the Turkish parliament to extend the deployment by another year.
The Iraqi army and pro-government forces have been preparing for months to liberate Mosul, which has been under the control of Daesh since the summer of 2014.