BAGHDAD // Iraq is seeking United Nations condemnation of Turkey’s deployment of troops and tanks to the north of the country without Baghdad’s permission, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Baghdad has also requested an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss “the consequences of this violation” and to adopt an Arab position on it.
Iraq gave Turkey 48 hours to remove the forces, which Ankara has defended as necessary to protect trainers at a base in northern Iraq, but the deadline passed earlier this week without their withdrawal.
Baghdad is contacting the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and other countries “to gather international support for issuing a Security Council resolution condemning this violation”, the ministry said.
Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has defended the deployment and said that, contrary to Baghdad’s assertions, “no one can say that this is a surprise”.
Turkey has a long-running training programme at a base near the city of Mosul, the Islamic State group’s main hub in Iraq, but the deployment last week expanded Ankara’s presence there.
“When the threats increased [to the lightly armed Turkish trainers], we sent troops to protect the camp. It’s not an act of aggression but an act of solidarity,” Mr Davutoglu said.
The base gives Turkey a foothold in an area where a major ground operation against ISIL is eventually to take place, and where its archfoe, rebel group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, has also sought to expand its presence.
A militant group identifying itself as Furaq Al Mawt, or Death Squads, released a video on Wednesday threatening Turkey if it did not withdraw the troops.
A group using the same name previously claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of 18 Turkish workers in Iraq.
Turkey called on its citizens to leave all areas of Iraq except the three-province autonomous Kurdish region in the north, with which Ankara has close ties.
It cited increasing threats targeting Turkish companies recently, as well as declarations encouraging violence, abduction and attacks.