Iraq calls for emergency UN meeting over Turkish troops

Iraq calls for emergency UN meeting over Turkish troops
The deployment of 2,000 Turkish troops in Iraq is a 'violation' of its territory, the country's foreign ministry has said, as its war of words between Baghdad and Ankara intensifies.
2 min read
07 October, 2016
Turkey says its military presence in Iraq was at the invitation of KRG president Barzani
Iraq wants an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council over the deployment of thousands of Turkish troops to the north of the country.

"The Iraqi foreign ministry has presented a request for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to discuss the Turkish violation of Iraq's territory and interference in its internal affairs," said a statement on the ministry's website.

The Turkish military said it is in Iraq at the invitation of Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Baghdad says no such invitation was ever issued.

Most of the Turkish troops are at a base in Bashiqa, north of Mosul and close to Turkey's border, where they are helping to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and Sunni fighters as they prepare for the Mosul offensive against the Islamic State group.

Turkey's prime minister said on Thursday that Ankara's troops will remain in Iraq despite Baghdad describing them as an "occupying force".

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Ankara is risking a regional war by keeping around 2,000 troops stationed across northern Iraq.

Last week, Turkey's parliament voted to extend the deployment by a year, further escalating tensions between the two states.

Tensions between Baghdad and Ankara have risen ahead of a major US-backed offensive to retake Mosul IS.

Turkey has said the campaign will send a wave of refugees over its border, and potentially on to Europe.

Ankara also worries that Baghdad's Shia Muslim-led forces will lead to massacres of Mosul's majority Sunni population and worsen ethnic strife across the region.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim echoed this worry again on Thursday, saying the presence of Ankara's troops in Bashiqa will help to ensure the demographics of the region will not change.