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Protesters in Baghdad call for withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq

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Protesters in Baghdad call for withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq



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Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Baghdad, demanding the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the north of the country.

Despite Iraq’s ultimatum on Sunday for Ankara to pull out its soldiers within 48 hours, there are no signs of that happening.

One protester, Hussein Habib, said: “If they don’t respond to our demands and withdraw their invading force – yes, the Turkish forces invaded – we will demand a boycott of Turkish goods and the cutting off of all political and economic relations.”

Turkey maintains it sent the troops to a Kurdish controlled area with Baghdad’s full knowledge as part of efforts to fight ISIL militants.

It says it has halted the deployment but will not pull out the troops already there.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliament: “As (the local Kurdish leader) Mr. Barzani said, these Peshmerga trained by Turkish soldiers contributed to the recapturing of Sinjar.

“These Kurdish, Turkmen and Arabic fighters have been trained by our soldiers. The demand for this training programme came from the governor of Mosul and the Iraqi Interior Minister knew about it.”

ISIL took over the northern city of Mosul in June last year.

Baghdad has called for an urgent meeting at the UN over the issue and for NATO to apply diplomatic pressure on Turkey.


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