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Turkish troop pullout from Iraq to continue

AFP
Published : Dec 21, 2015, 3:10 am IST
Updated : Dec 21, 2015, 3:10 am IST

Turkey said it would “continue” to pull its troops out of northern Iraq after US President Barack Obama urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to do so in order to deescalate tensions with Baghdad over

Turkey said it would “continue” to pull its troops out of northern Iraq after US President Barack Obama urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to do so in order to deescalate tensions with Baghdad over the deployment.

“Taking into account the sensitivities on the Iraqi side... Turkey will continue the process it has already begun to withdraw its troops stationed in Mosul province,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Baghdad on Sunday welcomed Turkey’s move, but said it would keep up efforts at the United Nations to achieve a full withdrawal. “What has been reported in the media is a step in the right direction,” foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

“We will carry on our process with the (UN) Security Council until a full withdrawal is achieved,” he added.

The Iraqi government earlier this week demanded the “complete withdrawal” of Turkish troops from its territory after Turkey deployed soldiers and tanks to a military camp near the city of Mosul.

Baghdad labelled the deployment an illegal “incursion” but Turkey said it was to protect Turkish trainers working with Iraqi forces battling the ISIS jihadist group. Mr Obama had asked Mr Erdogan to take steps “to deescalate tensions with Iraq”.

Turkey began partially withdrawing troops from the area on Monday.

Location: Turkey, Ankara