Turkey halts troop deployment to Iraq

Turkey halts troop deployment to Iraq
Turkey has stopped the deployment of troops to northern Iraq for now but will not withdraw those already there, Turkey's foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
1 min read
08 December, 2015
Iraq called the deployment of Turkish troops in the area a 'serious violation' [Getty]

The deployment of Turkish soldiers to northern Iraq has stopped, Turkey's foreign ministry said on Tuesday, but Ankara will not withdraw those already there. 

The statement follows 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 also claimed by Baghdad.


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

Iraqi President Fuad Masum said the presence of the Turkish troops was a "violation" of international law, adding that the move is contributing to increased tensions in the region.

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told his Iraqi counterpart in a phone conversation the news about halting the deployment.

Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara's respect for Iraq's territorial integrity in the call late on Monday, Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic told reporters.

Cavusoglu also told Ibrahim al-Jaafari that Turkey's presence in Mosul aimed to contribute to Iraq's fight against Islamic State.

Bilgic said such training would continue in coordination with Iraq.