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UN Demands Friendly Solution to Turkey-Iraq Confrontation

20 Octubre 2016
UN Demands Friendly Solution to Turkey-Iraq Confrontation

The dispute centres around Turkish troops deployed near Mosul, a presence that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has strongly opposed and said he fears could lead to 'regional war'.

Turkey wants more than to help militarily in Mosul, analysts say.

Turkey announced late on Tuesday that it was summoning Iraq's ambassador to complain about the parliamentary vote.

Abadi's warning to Turkey came after he told residents of Mosul that military operations to liberate the city were closer than ever, calling on them to cooperate with government forces that are participating in the operation. Baghdad says the deployment violates its territorial sovereignty while Ankara says the troops are there to combat terrorist elements that threaten its borders.

Most Turkish troops are at Bashiga a base north of Mosul.

Kurdish and Turkmen members of the Kurdish parliament in northern Iraq called Baghdad's description of Turkish troops as "occupiers" as politically motivated.

"It is a waste of time for the Iraqi government to focus on Turkey's presence there, when there are troops from 63 different countries" fighting Islamic State (Isis), he said.

USA and allied officials say the final training for Iraqi forces will be done by the middle of the month, clearing the way for the long-anticipated campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and a key stronghold of Islamic State.

Iraqi officials have since then accused Turkey of trying to carve out a foothold in northern Iraq under the guise of training Kurdish Autonomous region peshmerga troops against ISIL.

Retaking Mosul would be the most ambitious move yet for the US-led coalition against IS.

Turkish troops have entered Iraq several times before, albeit mostly with the consent of the Baghdad government.

London- Ankara has warned of sectarian consequences from Mosul operation, objecting to involvement of Shi'ite militias.

Turkey's parliament voted last week to extend its military presence in Iraq for a further year to take on what it called "terrorist organizations" - a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as Islamic State.

"We consider them an occupation force and we will deal with them on this basis", he said.

Safeen Dizayi, the KRG spokesperson, said the presence of Turkish military advisers was approved by the Iraqi defence ministry and federal government.

An air strike has killed at least 20 Iraqi pro-government Sunni tribal fighters in an area south of Mosul, according to the security forces and a minister.