Turkish troops in Iraq are not invaders: Pentagon

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Turkish special forces. file photo

ِARA News

ERBIL – Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said on Thursday that the US-led coalition hasn’t called the Turkish troops in Iraq illegal or invaders. Turkey has deployed around 150 soldiers to Bashiqa Military Camp in Iraq’s northern Nineveh Governorate.

“Our views on this should be well known. And this is something for the Turkish government and the government of Iraq to speak to,” Cook said. “We would urge those two governments to speak to this issue and the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq.”

According to the Pentagon, the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi soil is decided by the government of Iraq. 

“And the view of the United States has been that the Iraqi government should be able to speak to foreign troops on its soil. This is a sovereign issue for the government of Iraq,” Cook said.

Nevertheless, the Pentagon’s spokesman praised the Turkish contribution to the anti-ISIS coalition saying, “The coalition of which Turkey is a member, is focused very much on ridding Iraq of the [ISIS] threat; Syria as well.”

“That will remain our focus and we think there’s ample opportunity for the coalition to work very closely with the government of Iraq to achieve that goal,” Cook stated.

The Iraqi government has called on Turkish troops to leave Iraqi soil and rejected any participation by the Turkish Army in the looming battle for Mosul.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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