Iraq's Abadi requests UN take up issue of Turkish troops

AP , Friday 11 Dec 2015

Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi (C) tours the city of Tikrit after Iraq security forces regained control from Islamic State militants, in this April 1, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)

Iraq's Prime Minister issued a formal request Friday for the Foreign Ministry to submit a complaint to the United Nations about the presence of Turkish troops near the IS-held city of Mosul, as Iraq's top Shiite cleric admonished Turkey during a sermon in Karbala.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asked the UN Security Council to "shoulder its responsibilities," and order the withdrawal of the Turkish troops stationed in the country's north at a military base near Mosul.

"This is a flagrant violation of the provisions and principles of the UN Charter and in violation of the sanctity of Iraqi territory," a statement from his office said.

In Karbala, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani admonished Turkey, saying it should not have sent "troops to the territory of another state under the pretext of supporting the fight against terrorism" and called on the Iraqi government to "protect the sovereignty of Iraq."

The representative of the cleric, Ahmed al-Safi, relayed al-Sistani's words during a Friday sermon.

Turkey has had troops near Mosul to help train local Kurdish and Sunni forces since last year but the arrival of additional troops last week sparked uproar in Baghdad. Ankara subsequently halted new deployments.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday again said Turkey has no plans to withdraw troops but that Turkey would continue with the training process "in agreement" with Iraq. He did not elaborate.

Erdogan defended Turkey's move to send more troops, saying IS and other terror groups were "running wild" in Iraq and that Baghdad was not able to protect the Turkish soldiers there.

"Are we to wait for the invitation of the central Iraqi government when there is an attack to our country? We have no such luxury," Erdogan said.

Earlier, a government statement said Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu met with Iraqi officials in Baghdad and the sides agreed to work toward forming "new mechanisms" to deepen cooperation in security.

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