Iraqi PM says Baghdad does not want military confrontation with Turkey

BAGHDAD,— Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country does not want to enter into a military confrontation with Turkey as he reiterated calls for Turkish troops currently stationed in Iraq’s north to leave.
“The international coalition supports Iraq to reject the presence of Turkish troops on its soil,” Abadi said in a press conference on Tuesday evening.
He said every world leaders he has met supports this position of Iraq.
“The Turkish insistence on their presence inside Iraqi territories has no justification. The Islamic State is closer to the Turkish border in Syria than from Mosul.”
“We do not want to enter into a military confrontation with Turkey”, he said, but, added, “The behaviour of the Turkish leadership is not acceptable by any standard.”
As the much anticipated Mosul operation nears, he said, Iraq has put into place plans to “ensure Turkish troops do not exploit the power vacuum after achieving victory against the Islamic State in Mosul.”
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.
According to independent Awene weekly, Turkey has 18 military and intelligence bases in Dohuk province in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
Turkey boosted its troop numbers at the camp sparking a diplomatic confrontation with Baghdad who asserted that the Turkish troops were in the country without Baghdad’s permission or knowledge. Turkey maintained that the troops were necessary to protect their training mission at the camp.
On Saturday, the Turkish parliament voted to extend the army’s military mandates in both Iraq and Syria, where Turkish forces are trying to establish a 5,000 square kilometre safe zone along its border.
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.
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