Iraq asks NATO to intervene over Turkish troops

Iraq asks NATO to intervene over Turkish troops
1 min read
09 December, 2015
Turkey's refusal to withdraw troops from Iraq after the expiry of Baghdad's deadline calling for them to withdraw has prompted Iraq's prime minister to call for NATO intervention.
Abadi said Turkish forces were present without the Iraqi government's knowledge or consent [Getty]

The Iraqi prime minister has asked NATO to intervene shortly after a 48-hour deadline issued by the Iraqi government expired, demanding Turkish troops leave its territory. Ankara has refused to withdraw.

Haider al-Abadi's website issued a statement late on Tuesday saying he had already spoken to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by phone about the matter.

Abadi said the Turkish forces had entered the country "without the knowledge or consent of the Iraqi government", said the statement.

Iraq "is incumbent upon NATO to use its powers to urge Turkey to withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory," it added.

Turkey's foreign ministry announced on Tuesday that it would halt further deployment of troops to northern Iraq for now but would not withdraw those already there.

The statement followed days of tension between the two countries after Turkish troops, tanks and artillery were sent to a northern province in Iraq on Saturday, largely held by the Islamic State group, and an area currently controlled by Kurdish forces, but claimed by Baghdad.

The Iraqi government demanded that Turkey withdraw troops immediately, calling the deployment a "serious violation of Iraqi sovereignty".