BAGHDAD, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) — The Iraqi government on Tuesday renewed its demand of full withdrawal of Turkish troops from the Iraqi territory, asserting that Turkey must respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
The Iraqi Council of Ministers, headed by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, discussed the ongoing crisis with Turkey and "reiterated its firm position that the neighboring Turkey must respond to the Iraqi request of full withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraqi territory and respect its national sovereignty," according to a statement issued by Abadi’s office.
Earlier, Iraq lodged an official complaint to the UN Security Council over the deployment of Turkish troops in Bashiqah near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq, considering the Turkish incursion a blatant violation of the provisions and principles of the UN Charter and a violation to the sovereignty of the Iraqi state, as the Turkish troops’ deployment happened without the knowledge and consent of the Iraqi authorities.
The latest government statement came a day after Turkey has shifted some of its troops stationed in the training camp of Bashiqah to the north close to the Turkish border in order to defuse tensions that flared up recently between Ankara and Baghdad.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that withdrawing Turkish troops from Iraq is out of the question and that the Turkish soldiers are in Iraq as part of a training mission.
The deployment of Turkish troops dates back to 2002 and additional troops were deployed in 2014 in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Erdogan told a press conference.
"Turkish troops in Mosul are not there as combatants; they are trainers," Erdogan said. "It is out of the question, for now, to pull them out."
Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh province, has been under IS control since June 2014.