World Bulletin / News Desk
A senior U.S. official said Turkish forces entered Iraqi territory to train local volunteers one and a half year ago with the Iraqi government's consent.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, said on Thursday the U.S.' understanding is that the Iraqi government was informed before Turkish troops set foot onto Camp Bashiqa, which has recently become a point of confrontation between Ankara and Baghdad.
The official also referenced the video this week released by Anadolu Agency which shows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi asking for Turkish aid in terms of military training and intelligence sharing in a press conference hosted by then-Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in December 2014.
When asked about the Iraqi government's change of heart on the Turkish presence in Bashiqa, the official said there were multiple factors affecting Baghdad's new positioning. However, the official didn't dismiss the influence and pressure of regional powers and local militias held over the Abadi government.
Baghdad complained about the Dec. 4 deployment of troops to the site near Mosul, calling it a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and insisting the Turkish forces be withdrawn.
Turkey said that 150 soldiers and up to 25 tanks were stationed in Bashiqa to protect Turkish servicemen training Iraqi volunteers to fight ISIL. The training mission had reportedly been in operation since March 2015 and was not assigned to combat duties.Last Mod: 14 Ekim 2016, 12:28