Turkey must withdraw ‘unauthorized’ forces in Iraq, Obama says

WASHINGTON, – Turkey should withdraw any military forces in Iraq that are “not authorized by the Iraqi government,” U.S. President Barack Obama has told Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, according to the White House.

Relations between Turkey and Iraq have been tense since Dec. 4, 2015, when Turkey deployed additional troops, hundreds of commandos and a small mechanized unit to the Bashiqa camp, which lies near Mosul held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The move infuriated Iraq to the extent that it brought the issue before the United Nations Security Council, asking it to use it powers to force Turkey to pull its troops from Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Dec. 30, 2015, that Baghdad would continue to pursue peaceful means, but that if there was no other solution and if “fighting is imposed on us, we will consider it to protect our sovereignty.”

The Iraqi central government and their armed forces have failed to take effective measures in the face of attacks by ISIL, Davutoğlu said in a televised address to the nation late on Dec. 27, 2015.

“In line with appeals from the Iraqi authorities, we are providing training and equipment support to both the Peshmerga and local volunteers from Mosul,” Davutoğlu said, noting that the fall of a city like Mosul, the second largest province in the country, to ISIL has once more displayed the need for international support and cooperation along with local forces against threats posed by ISIL.

“Our support will continue until Mosul is liberated,” he added.

“On regional issues, Prime Minister al-Abadi and President Obama discussed their mutual concern over Saudi Arabia’s execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and the attacks against Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic facilities,” the White House said in a statement.

“They agreed on the need for all regional parties to demonstrate restraint, avoid provocative rhetoric or behavior and avoid a worsening of sectarian tensions. They agreed on the importance that all parties maintain diplomatic engagement and dialogue,” it said.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

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