MOSCOW – Some 1,500-2,000 Turkish troops remain in northern Iraq despite the protests of Baghdad, a representative of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government in Moscow said Monday.
In December, Turkey deployed its troops to a base in the Iraqi Nineveh province, without Baghdad’s approval. Turkey said its military had entered Iraq to protect Turkish instructors deployed at the base earlier to train local militias, fighting against Islamic State, a terrorist group outlawed in a number of countries worldwide, including Russia.
“About 1,500-2,000 Turkish soldiers [are there]…. Iraq issued a serious warning to make them leave the country, but the Turks did not listen. Unfortunately, the West and the United State, the United Nations too, are silent about it,” Aso Talabani told RIA Novosti.
According to the official, “the Turks did not come to help us.”
“They have arrived there, first, to fight against the Kurds. Secondly, they have a plan to stay in Iraq after the liberation of Mosul and the Islamic State’s destruction,” he pointed out.
In late February, Iraqi Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal told Sputnik that the Turkish forces’ presence on Iraqi territory without Baghdad’s approval was “insolence” unacceptable for Iraq and an attempt to distract Iraqi authorities from the fight against Daesh.