Iraqi PM Abadi Renews Call for Ankara to Withdraw Army

Iraqi PM Abadi Renews Call for Ankara to Withdraw Army
Sat Jan 9, 2016 18:09:09

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi renews call for Turkey to withdraw troops deployed in the region of Mosul, the largest city in northern Iraq which has been under Daesh (ISIL) control since 2014.

Speaking at a ceremony in Baghdad broadcast live on state TV, al-Abadi said Iraq still needed foreign assistance for air cover, training and armament, but not for ground operations.

'This is a frank invitation to Turkey our neighbor to pull out its forces from Iraq,' he said.

'We will make every effort permitted by our rights and international law to make them leave,' al-Abbadi added.

More than 60 percent of strikes against Daesh in Iraq are carried out by the nation's air forces and about 40 per cent by the US-led coalition, he said on Saturday.

Al-Abadi called execution of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as 'unacceptable', adding that religious scholars should be respected even if they protest the governments' policies.

Iraqi premier warned about manipulation of Sheikh Nimr execution as a tool to make sectarian violence in the region.

Turkey deployed around 150 troops last month at the Bashiqa base.

Turkish President Rajab Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkish troops repelled a Daesh attack on the base, killing 18 militants, adding that this incident vindicated the presence of the protection force. The Iraqi army later denied the Turkey claim, IRNA reported.

S/SH

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