Iraq has given 48 hours Sunday to Turkey to withdraw troops according Baghdad have entered its territory illegally, warning that Ankara would otherwise face “all options” including an appeal to the Security Council of ‘UN.
Baghdad, which is struggling to assert its sovereignty when sending foreign troops to fight against the Islamic State Group (EI) is debated in Iraq, reported a deployment on Iraqi soil of Turkish troops with tanks and artillery, without permission.
“In the case of a non-withdrawal of these forces within 48 hours, Iraq will use its right to use all available options,” including by appealing to the Security Council, the Prime Minister said, Haider al-Abadi, in a statement.
In practice, the Iraq options are primarily diplomatic forces are taken by the fight against EI while Ankara has a far more powerful army.
Turkey has troops in a database of Nineveh province to train Iraqi Sunni volunteers for a reconquest of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city fell to the EI by June 2014.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Saturday downplayed the new deployment evoking a “normal rotation” and “reinforcement to deal with security risks.”
“This is not a new camp,” he continued, adding that “Bashika camp, 30 kilometers north of Mosul, a training camp was established to support volunteers who fight terrorism” .
“We have already formed and we will continue to train our Iraqi brothers who fight Daech (Arabic acronym of IE) to Bashika and elsewhere,” said Davutoglu.
But the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities for their part stated that “the Turkish government sent in recent days the experts and equipment needed in order to enlarge the camp.”
The Iraqi defense minister, Khaled al-Obeidi, also demanded the withdrawal of the Turkish forces.
Relations between Baghdad and Ankara have recently changed but remain tense because of the links between Turkey and the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan and differences on the conflict in Syria.
The Turkish deployment represents a new challenge for Iraqi Prime Minister who has clamped down this week proclaiming that all consignments of foreign troops on Iraqi soil would be considered a “hostile act”.