Ankara, October 7, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
Baghdad’s recent remarks on Turkish soldiers stationed in Iraq are “dangerous and provocative,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Oct. 7, responding to claims that his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi allegedly said “Turkish soldiers should not think they are having picnic.”
“The soldiers are not having a picnic but carrying out a duty. They are part of a struggle with around 60 different countries. There are soldiers of many countries that do not have physical ties with Iraq and they are also carrying out this struggle in the name of humanity. So I find such statements from Baghdad unusually dangerous and provocative,” Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara.
He also stated that Turkish soldiers have been on Iraqi soil “for a long time” and Ankara does not have any designs on the unity of Iraqi soil.
The row between Baghdad and Ankara comes after Iraq’s parliament passed motion against the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq. The Iraqi parliament sent a diplomatic note to Turkey’s ambassador on Oct. 4, after which Turkey summoned Iraq’s ambassador to Ankara.