Baghdad has welcomed Turkey’s announcement that it will start removing its troops stationed in northern Iraq but says it will continue efforts until all the forces are pulled out.
“What has been reported in the media is a step in the right direction,” Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said in a statement released on Sunday.
Jaafari stressed that Baghdad will carry on its process with the UN Security Council until “full withdrawal is achieved.”
On Saturday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that Ankara will continue to recall some of the troops from the Bashiqa military base in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province.
US President Barack Obama called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to withdraw his country’s troops out of Iraq and to “to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.”
Baghdad also called on the Security Council to adopt a resolution, urging Turkey to end its “illegal incursion” and immediately withdraw all of its troops from the Iraqi soil.
Turkey claims that the troops are deployed to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters battling the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Tensions have been running high between Baghdad and Ankara particularly since December 4, when Turkey deployed heavily armed soldiers supported by some two dozen tanks at the base.