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Turkey tensions with Iraq over Bashiqa camp troops

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Turkey tensions with Iraq over Bashiqa camp troops
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The Turkish government has agreed to reorganise its military presence at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq. The deal comes after Baghdad demanded an immediate withdrawal of troops from the camp near the Islamic state controlled city of Mosul.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asked the foreign ministry to lodge a formal complaint at the UN Security Council.

In Kerbela the spokesman for Iraq’s top Sh’iite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged the government to show “no tolerance” for any infringement of the country’s sovereignty.

He said no neighbour should send troops to Iraq under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan in a televised press conference told reporters, “There is no way we can withdraw our soldiers from northern Iraq now” and added the deployment was not for combat but to protect troops who were providing training in the area.

The rhetoric signals continuing tensions between Ankara and Baghdad. Turkish military are helping Iraqi volunteers and Kurdish peshmerga for an offensive against the militant Islamic state fighters who seized control of Mosul over a year ago.

Baghdad denies having agreed to the presence of the troops.