Baghdad and Ankara have each summoned the other’s ambassador as tension mounts over the legality of keeping Turkish troops in Iraq.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned of a potential regional war, if the estimated 2,000 soldiers remain.
However Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş argued:
“No one has the right to object to Turkey’s presence in Iraq when the country is fragmented that much.”
“Turkey is present in Bashiqa to resolve political conflict caused by a terrorist organisation and to provide security for Mosul’s citizens,” he added.
Ankara claims it has 150 military personnel and 25 tanks at the Bashiqa base, north of Mosul. They are there, the government says, at the request of President of the Kurdish regional administration, Masoud Barzani, to help train Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and Sunni fighters.