(Reuters) Iraq has requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss Turkey’s military presence on its soil, state television said on Thursday, as a dispute with Ankara over the troops escalated.
Turkey’s parliament voted last week to extend the deployment of an estimated 2,000 troops across northern Iraq by a year to combat “terrorist organizations” – a likely reference to Kurdish rebels as well as ISIL.
Iraq condemned the vote, and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned Turkey risked triggering a regional war. On Wednesday, Ankara and Baghdad summoned the other’s ambassadors in protest at remarks from the other’s camp.
In a statement cited by state television on Thursday, Iraqi foreign ministry called the troops’ presence a “violation”.
Turkey says its military is in Iraq at the invitation of Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish regional government, with which Ankara maintains solid ties. Baghdad says no such invitation was ever issued.
Most of the Turkish troops are at a base in Bashiqa, north of Mosul and close to Turkey’s border, where they are helping to train Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga and Sunni fighters.