Turkey to move troops from Iraq

Story highlights

  • Turkey agrees to move troops from Iraq
  • Iraq's government had insisted it never invited the Turkish forces into the country

(CNN)Turkey announced Saturday it would move its troops from Iraq after weeks of tensions over its military presence near the city of Mosul, according to a statement from the country's Foreign Ministry.

The Turkish government didn't say where the troops would move to. It had said troops were deployed to the Bashiqa military base in northern Iraq earlier this month to protect a mission to train and advise Iraqi forces in their fight against ISIS.
    But Iraq's government has insisted that it never invited the Turkish forces and that their presence constituted a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Iraqi President Fuad Masum said Turkey violated international laws when its military entered the country.
    The move comes just one day after U.S. President Barack Obama urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take steps to "de-escalate" tensions.
    Brett McGurk, the State Department special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, welcomed the move in a tweet: "Welcome statement by #Turkey MFA on movement of forces from #Iraq. US actively engaged, encouraging focus on #ISIL"
    Turkey said it will continue to coordinate with the Baghdad government in the war against ISIS.
    "Turkey reiterates its support for Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity and acknowledges the miscommunication with the government of Iraq over the recent deployments of Turkish protection forces to support training activities for Iraqi forces in their campaign against DAESH (ISIS) in northern Iraq," the Turkish statement said.
    "Turkey, in recognition of the Iraqi concerns and in accordance with the requirements of the fight against DAESH, is continuing to move military forces from Ninewa province that were the source of the miscommunication."