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Turkish jets strike Kurdish rebel PKK targets in northern Iraq

Turkey has stationed troops near Mosul since 2014 as part of a training mission coordinated with the Baghdad government.

Speaking at a press conference, Erdogan said that the troops were there for training Kurdish peshmerga fighters and not combat purposes.

The deployment of heavily armed Turkish troops in northern Iraq close to Mosul, which is occupied by Islamic State extremists, touched off the latest controversy.

“If Turkey does not withdraw its troops and the Security Council, the Arab League and the worldwide community will continue to idle, we will find a way to protect our legal rights”, Iraqi parliament member from the State of Law bloc, Awatif Nima, told RT.

“It will depend on discussions”, the Turkish official said.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara have nosedived since that incident, which diplomats said was the real reason Moscow raised the issue of the Turkish troops in Iraq.

According to Ankara, the contingent’s arrival in northern Iraq was “a normal rotation” and not an illegal incursion or the advance party for an invasion.

“Come on! They sent a letter to the Security Council”.

“We believe Turkey has acted recklessly and inexplicably, carrying out additional deployments on the territory of Iraq without the consent of Iraqi government”, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters.

Iraq also reportedly said it will impose economic sanctions on Ankara in response to the fact that Turkey doesn’t bring out the tank battalion from the Iraqi province of Nineveh.

Later on Thursday, prime ministerial sources said PM Ahmet Davutoglu had at the request of US officials spoken to Vice President Joe Biden.

Speaking to his counterpart earlier this week, the Turkish foreign minister emphasized Ankara’s respect for Iraqi territorial integrity and said further troop deployments had been halted for now.

“He (Mr. Cavusoglu) said that our activities aimed to contribute to the struggle against Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and reiterated that the deployment had stopped”, Mr. Bilgic said. The Iraqi government says it never invited such a force.

 

The deputy prime minister said these prompted the Iraqi government to give an unexpected reaction “with a sentiment caused by incidents in Syria and Iraq”. It threatened to refer the case to the Security Council unless Turkey withdraws its forces.

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