Report: Iraq Not Allowing Turkish Troops Back to Bashiqa
A government-affiliated think tank in Baghdad reported that Iraq has refused to allow Turkish troops back into the Arab country following a leave from their bases.
According to Al-Nahrain Center for Strategic Studies, the move is in line with the Iraqi government’s efforts to put an end to Turkish military presence in the country.
The measure had been adopted over the previous months, withholding visas to the Turkish forces who sought to return to Iraq, Iraqi News website reported on Sunday.
Watheq al-Hashemi, director of the center, stated that the decision had helped reduce the number of Turkish troops significantly.
“The government’s stance of not allowing Turkish soldiers to return will end the Turkish military presence in Bashiqa without any diplomatic or military friction,” he added.
The Bashiqa camp, al-Hashemi said, is totally cordoned by Iraqi troops and Turkey cannot carry out any plans without the knowledge of Iraqi troops.
Turkey has been conducting air raids against areas in Northern Iraq, which serve as safe havens for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. The militants have been fighting a deadly separatist war against Ankara.
In 2014, Turkey sent troops to Bashiqa in Northern Iraq under the banner of fighting the Daesh terror group which was defeated in the country late last year.
Baghdad has repeatedly called on Ankara to pull out its forces but Turkey says they will stay as long as the PKK threat persists.
Last Sunday, Iraq announced plans to deploy troops along the border with Turkey in an effort to defend the frontier against any “violations” of its territory and airspace.
The decision was made during a meeting of the Iraqi Ministerial Council for National Security chaired by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The meeting also instructed the Foreign Ministry to “take the necessary measures to document the Turkish violations of Iraqi airspace to the United Nations”.