Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged NATO on Tuesday to force Turkey to immediately withdraw its troops from Iraq.
Turkish troops are in Iraqi territory “without the knowledge nor permission of the Iraqi government, and Iraq demanded via diplomatic channels that Turkey immediately withdraw its troops, within a maximum of two days,” a statement quoted Abadi telling NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a phone conversation.
“The situation violates Iraq’s sovereignty, and NATO must use its power and force Turkey to immediately withdraw its troops from Iraqi territory,” read the statement.
An earlier statement by Iraq’s Council of Ministers, headed by Abadi, said “Iraq’s sovereignty and its geographical borders are a red line particularly since there exists no signed agreement between Iraq nor any accord permitting Turkey to trespass the country’s borders under any pretext.”
The council declared that it authorized Abadi to take the necessary measures regarding the deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq.
The crisis was triggered over the weekend as reports stated that a Turkish training battalion, equipped with armored vehicles, was deployed near the city of Mosul in order to train Iraqi paramilitary groups against Islamic State militants.
However, Ankara claimed that sending troops to Iraq was in response to increased skirmishes with the IS in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province which has been under IS control since June 2014.