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Turkey to reasses status of Bashiqa after Daesh cleared from the area, Defense Min. says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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emReuters File Photo/em
Reuters File Photo

The status of Turkish troops training local forces at the Bashiqa Camp will be reassessed with Iraq once the area is cleared of Daesh terrorists, and the issue will be resolved in a friendly manner, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Wednesday.

"Turkey respects Iraq's territorial integrity and unity" Işık told reporters and added that the presence of Turkish troops in Iraq is out of necessity, not a choice, as Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım says.

Işık noted that the removal of Daesh terrorists from the region and ensuring security in Mosul is as important for Turkey's security, as it is for Iraq's.

He also said that over 700 Daesh terrorists have been killed so far and over 6,000 local fighters have been trained in the Bashiqa Camp.

Earlier this year, Iraqi-Turkish relations had turned sour over who should take part in the planned Mosul assault against Daesh.

Iraq had said they perceived the Turkish military forces presence in the country as a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and had called upon the Turkish authorities to withdraw those forces as soon as possible.

However, Turkey had stated that Turkish forces had initially been stationed at the Bashiqa camp to train the local forces in their fight against Daesh at the request of Abadi himself.

About 150 soldiers and up to 25 tanks were stationed in Bashiqa to protect Turkish servicemen training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh since March 2015. Turkey had pointed out that the soldiers were not assigned to combat duties, and would do all it could to prevent the operation from deepening sectarian conflict on its borders.

Mosul, the largest city seized by Daesh anywhere across the once vast territory it controlled in Iraq and neighboring Syria, has been held by the group since its fighters drove the U.S.-trained army out in June 2014.

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