Turkey to withdraw troops from Iraq after Obama appeal

Turkey is pulling troops out of northern Iraq in an effort to de-escalate tensions with the Iraqi government, a day after President Barack Obama urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday acknowledged a “miscommunication” with Iraq over its recent deployment of troops to the Bashiqa military base, near the Islamic State-held city of Mosul.

The ministry did not say how many troops would be moved or where they would go.

The deployment of Turkish troops to the Bashiqa base angered the Iraqi government, which said the soldiers had not been invited and the move amounted to an illegal “incursion.”

But Turkey has maintained that the force was part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces that want to retake Mosul from Islamic State militants.

In a phone call on Friday, Obama urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take steps “to de-escalate tensions with Iraq, including by continuing to withdraw Turkish military forces.”

He also urged Turkey “to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.”

Source: VOANews.com

(Archive photo of Erdogan and Obama, from a 2009 meeting: whitehouse.gov)