Iraqi PM says Turkey agrees on withdrawal of its troops from Bashiqa

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Turkish administration has agreed on withdrawal of its military forces from the town located in northern Iraq.

  • Date: 2017/01/07
  • Time: 17:42
  • News Code: 35089
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Iraqi PM says Turkey agrees on withdrawal of its troops from Bashiqa

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim are seen during a welcoming ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq( January 7, 2017)

VON PRESS Middle East: Abadi made the announcement on Saturday after he met with visiting Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in the capital.

The Iraqi state TV, which aired Abadi's announcement, did not provide further details about the agreement over Turkey's military presence in the Iraqi town of Bashiqa.

Turkey deployed about 500 troops to the facility last year, saying it was wary of potential attacks by the ISIS terrorist group that is currently based in the city of Mosul, near Bashiqa.

Iraq has repeatedly called on Turkey to withdraw its forces or risk a potential confrontation with the Iraqi military, which is currently battling ISIS in Mosul. Baghdad has also refused Ankara's call for a contribution to the Mosul liberation operation.

Yildirim arrived in Baghdad on Saturday for a two-day visit, the first since relations between the two neighboring countries began to strain over the Bashiqa dispute.

Iraq and Turkey came to blows in October over the continued presence of Turkish forces in Bashiqa and elsewhere in northern Iraq, with each government summoning the other's ambassador just as the major offensive to drive ISIS out of Mosul was set to begin.

Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Faruk Kaymakci expressed hope earlier that the visit could "open a new chapter in Turkey-Iraq relations."

Sources in Ankara had also speculated that Yildirim's discussions in Baghdad would include the Bashiqa dispute, the fight against ISIS, and the issue of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Turkey's controversial deployment to northern Iraq comes as Ankara continues with its military endeavors in neighboring Syria. The Turkish operation, which began in August, has faced similar criticism from the Syrian government. 


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