Despite a recent dispute between Ankara and Baghdad, Turkish military continues to stay in Bashiqa army camp near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, as Reuters publishes the very first pictures of the camp .
Pictures published on Friday show Turkish trainers teaching local forces how to use guns and fight against terrorists.
It said that Turkey's military training is being continued with full speed, days before the final offensive to regain Mosul from the Daesh.
Since early 2015, Turkey's military started training Iraqi local fighters and Peshmerga forces in order to join the Mosul liberation operation.
Turkey determined to give support in Mosul operation: Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has stated that Turkey is ready to contribute to the fight against Daesh in Iraq's Mosul as much as it can, and the participation of Turkey-trained forces in Bashiqa camp is important for the successful of Mosul operation. "We are ready to fully support the operation against Daesh," said Çavuşoğlu in his speech during the press meeting with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo. The Turkish FM said the inclusion of the Shi'ite militias in the Mosul operation will not bring peace. "Turkey had a very important role in halting a large number of people who intended to join terrorist groups, particularly Daesh," he said. Turkish military presence in Bashiqa, Iraq, will continue: Turkish PM Çavuşoğlu recalled that a bloody terrorist organization cannot reflect the ideology of Islam, adding that the ideology of the Daesh terrorist organization should be killed. Iraqi officials have been saying that they don't accept the military presence of Turkey, while Ankara says they will continue to be there against Daesh. Iraq has suffered a devastating security gap since 2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country's northern and western regions. In recent months, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and local allies on the ground, has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to Daesh. However, the terrorist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
The Turkish military presence in northern Iraq came to focus in late 2015, during a shifting of military personnel in the camp.
The Iraqi government expressed their concern of the military presence, but the issue was dismissed as the officials understood that the camp was established under the legal permission of Baghdad and the Northern Iraqi Regional Government (KRG).
Meanwhile, the military has trained almost 3,000 local volunteers and Peshmerga forces.
But earlier this month, the camp has been come to an issue as Iraq's central government, influenced by the U.S. and Iran, raised their voice against Turkish military.
Turkey 'always seeks solution' with Iraq: Turkish FM
Turkey seeks a solution in the aftermath of the Bashiqa issue despite Iraq's negative attitudes, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday. Speaking at a joint news conference with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said the Iraqi parliament's decision against the presence of Turkish troops at Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq “does not pose a serious problem if Iraq purifies itself from its domestic political concerns and drops the veto [referring to the Iraqi parliament's decision against Turkish troops]. “We always seek a solution, but Iraq, continues its negative attitudes about Bashiqa Camp because of its internal political turmoil and polarization," he said. On Tuesday, Iraqi parliament asked the government to send a diplomatic note to Turkey's ambassador in Baghdad, describing Turkish troops in Iraq for the purpose of training Iraqi forces against Daesh as “hostile occupying forces". Lawmakers also asked for trade and economic ties with Turkey to be reassessed. On Wednesday, Iraq's ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Baghdad also summoned Turkey's ambassador.Çavuşoğlu added he discussed latest developments in Syria with his Italian counterpart, saying both countries play an active role in the fight against Daesh as part of the U.S.-led coalition. Gentiloni said the two countries should give a joint message against Russia and the Bashar al-Assad led Syrian administration. "We should give a message to Russia and the Assad regime that they cannot go on like this. It is impossible to continue with the incidents that have occurred in eastern of Aleppo in the last 15 days. You cannot get anywhere by destroying a city where 300,000 people live." He said the international community was responsible for finding a solution to the Syrian issue. "The Syrian issue should be resolved by taking suggestions from the United Nations." Recalling that Turkey and Italy jointly deployed troops for the NATO mission in Afghanistan, Gentiloni said the two countries were now also jointly fighting against the Daesh terrorist organization. Since Sept. 19, when the Syrian regime ended a week-long cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia, almost 500 civilians have been killed and hundreds injured in attacks on Aleppo. Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests – which had erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity. The Syrian Center for Policy Research, a Beirut-based nongovernmental organization, has put the death toll from the six-year-old conflict at more than 470,000.
Ankara said the Turkish military in northern Iraq was staying legally under the permission of Iraq's government and would continue to remain there.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkish military units would continue to stay in Mosul.
Ankara stated that an anti-Daesh operation in Iraq is impossible without Turkey.
'Iraqi government already approved Turkish military's presence'
Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government Spokesman Sefin Dizayee has said that the Bashiqa and Duberdan training camps were set up over the approval of the Federal government of Iraq and the Defense Ministry. "The camps were built up aiming to train the local forces after the Daesh terrorist organization intensified its attacks as a part of supporting Iraq from a large number of countries. The government approved the establishment of the camp," he said. Ankara, in December 2015, deployed about 150 soldiers equipped with heavy weapons and backed by two dozen tanks to Bashiqa of Mosul, aiming at training and equipping Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh. Turkish military presence in Bashiqa, Iraq, will continue: Turkish PM Iraqi officials have been saying that they don't accept the military presence of Turkey, while Ankara says they will continue to be there against Daesh. "An operation will possibly be conducted against the Daesh terrorist in Mosul, as you all know. And everyone is also aware of the concerns of Turkey over Mosul. The reaction of Iraqi officials is incomprehensible. There are troops from 63 countries, however Baghdad is against the military presence of Turkey. Despite the statements of Iraqi forces, the Turkish military's presence will continue there," Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Thursday. Iraq has suffered a devastating security gap since 2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country's northern and western regions. In recent months, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and local allies on the ground, has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to Daesh. However, the terrorist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.
Kurdish MPs defend Turkish army presence in N. Iraq
Kurdish and Turkmen members of northern Iraq's Kurdish parliament have described the Iraqi parliament's characterization of Turkish troops deployed in northern Iraq as "occupiers" as "politically motivated". In a Tuesday session, Iraq's parliament described Turkish troops deployed in Camp Bashiqa -- located in Iraq's northern Nineveh province -- as "occupiers". The assertion drew an immediate response from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which slammed what it described as the Iraqi parliament's "mischaracterization" of the Turkish military presence in northern Iraq. "We strongly condemn the Iraqi parliament's unacceptable assertions, including base accusations leveled against the Turkish president," the ministry declared in a Tuesday statement. The following day, the ministry summoned Iraq's ambassador to Ankara to voice its displeasure, prompting Iraq's Foreign Ministry to retaliate by summoning the Turkish envoy to Baghdad.'Politically Motivated' Members of northern Iraq's Kurdish parliament, for their part, say the recent claims by their Iraqi counterparts -- that Turkish troops are "occupying" Bashiqa -- are "politically motivated". "Iraqi politicians always refer to the country's 'sovereignty and independence' when it suits their interests," Renas Jano, an MP for the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), told Anadolu Agency. "Now they're using the mantra of 'national sovereignty' to criticize Turkey's military presence in northern Iraq," Jano added. "When PKK militants are operating in Iraqi cities, nobody talks about 'sovereignty' and 'independence'," Jano said. "Instead of expelling groups like the PKK, the same political circles provide them with support and financial aid," he added. He went on to juxtapose the positions adopted by certain Iraqi political quarters vis-à-vis the PKK terrorist group's presence in the country on one hand and the presence of Turkish troops tasked with fighting Daesh on the other. According to Jano, Iraqi political groups that oppose a Turkish military presence in Iraq must understand that "as long as the PKK presence continues [in Iraq], Turkey's presence in the region will be essential for security". He added that the Iraqi parliament's recent assertions regarding the Turkish presence at Camp Bashiqa were "not made in the interests of the people of Mosul but rather in the interests of certain Iraqi political groups". In mid-2014, the Daesh terrorist group captured Mosul -- Iraq's second largest city -- along with vast swathes of territory in the country's northern and western regions. In recent months, the Iraqi army has managed to retake much territory. Nevertheless, Daesh remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul, which Iraqi officials have vowed to recapture by year's end. 'Historical Roots' Arafat Karam, another MP for the KDP (which is led by Masoud Barzani, president of northern Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government), questioned why Iraqi parliamentarians had singled out Turkey when a number of other players were currently active in Iraq. "Why are calls to end 'foreign military presence' [in Iraq] being applied only to Turkey?" he asked. "There are many other countries -- besides Turkey -- that maintain a presence in the country." Karam went on to stress that Turkish forces now deployed at Camp Bashiqa were there within the context of the international fight against Daesh. Aydi Maruf, an MP for the Iraqi Turkmen Front, for his part, said the ethnic and religious makeup of Daesh-held Mosul -- located only some 12 kilometers northeast of Bashiqa -- meant the city shared a close historical and cultural affinity with Turkey. "Why don't Turkish troops go to [the Iraqi city of] Najaf? Because they don't have any interests there," he asserted. "Turkey has longstanding historical and cultural roots in Mosul." Maruf also expressed his opposition to the notion of the Hashd al-Shaabi -- an umbrella group of Shia militias -- taking part in the upcoming campaign to liberate Mosul. "We are aware that the Shia militias are supported by a country pursuing a political agenda," he said in a veiled reference to Shia Iran. "Turkmen in Tal Afar [another city in Nineveh province] are now divided along Sunni-Shia lines because of groups established on a sectarian basis," Maruf said. "We don't want to see this happen again; that's why we don't want Shia militias to enter Mosul," he added. Asserting that Ankara had no sectarian agenda in Mosul, Maruf said: "For two years, Turkey has provided support to all elements of Iraq -- Arabs, Turkmen, Ezidis, Christians and others -- that have suffered under Daesh's oppression."Turkish Mandate In 2007, Turkey's parliament gave a mandate to the country's armed forces to take military action against terrorist groups in Iraq. In 2014, with the emergence of Daesh, that mandate was expanded to include Syria. Last week, Turkey's parliament renewed the mandate in a move that drew criticism from certain Iraqi political quarters. In December of last year, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Camp Bashiqa. The deployment -- which was criticized at the time by Baghdad -- was meant to provide protection to Turkish military personnel tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.
Turkey not in Iraq as occupiers: Deputy PM
The Iraqi parliament's labeling Turkey's military presence in the country “occupiers" is unacceptable, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Thursday. Speaking to reporters in the Black Sea province of Ordu, Kurtulmus said, “Turkey's presence in Bashiqa is not for occupying the region. If Iraqi government officials had to react, where were they when Mosul and Raqqa were occupied by Daesh in one day?" He added, “Turkey's presence in Bashiqa was on the request of the local authorities to rescue the Mosul province from Daesh occupation. So Turkey isn't [coming] there like someone from far away coming to occupy. Turkey is there to help the people of Mosul fight Daesh." The Turkish troops in Bashiqa have been training local forces on how to fight Daesh. Kurtulmus went on to say, “Turkey rejects this official statement. Our presence in Bashiqa is specifically to contribute to the normalization process there and support the protection of Mosul and its people." On Wednesday Iraq's ambassador to Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry over the “occupiers" characterization, and the Iraqi Foreign Ministry also summoned Turkey's ambassador to Baghdad. On Tuesday the Foreign Ministry also condemned the "mischaracterization", saying, "We strongly condemn the Iraqi parliament's unacceptable decision, including scurrilous accusations against Turkish President [Recep Tayyip Erdogan]." A 2007 mandate that allows military action against terrorist organizations in neighboring Syria and Iraq was extended by Turkey's parliament after the emergence of Daesh, according to the ministry. Iraq's parliament Tuesday rejected the decision to extend the mandate. Turkey says Iraqi lawmakers' decision temporary
US playing dangerous game over Mosul operation
The Washington administration is playing a game to lead Turkey away from the table of the Mosul operation. All players in the region had already been put into operation for leaving Turkey out of the anti-Daesh coalition in Mosul. Following the successful counter Daesh operation in northern Syria, the success of Turkey's military had drawn all attention in the region. Any land operation against Daesh in the region is likely impossible without Turkey's military, after the operation Euphrates Shield. But the U.S. military, along with Iraq, Iran and Shia militias, attempted to stop Turkey.'Iraq cannot achieve a solution without Turkey' Despite the Turkish military's presence in Bashiqa camp near Mosul under the legal permission of related Iraqi authority, the U.S. activated its regional players for spreading black propaganda against the Turkish army. According to a recent media report, the U.S.-lead counter Daesh coalition spokesman Colonel John Dorrian called the Turkish military presence in Iraq “illegal". Dozens of Turkish trainers and tanks had stationed in Bashiqa camp near the Daesh stronghold of Mosul in early 2015, to train Iraqi and Peshmerga fighters for operation to liberate the city from the terrorists. Turkey condemns Iraq lawmakers' view of Turkish troops According to official sources, Turkey's military has trained around 3,000 local volunteers so far. Ankara has been defending the idea that Mosul should be liberated by supporting local forces and also should be given to locals, otherwise a sectarian conflict can be inevitable. This was not the first step by the Pentagon against Turkey's anti-Daesh effort in Iraq. It influenced the Iraqi Parliament to pass a controversial legislation to remove the Bashiqa military camp. Turkey summons Iraqi ambassador over Bashiqa camp decision Despite seven Iranian military camps in Iraq, which don't have any legal permission from the Iraqi authorities, the parliament declaration against only Turkey's military presence is seen as a US/Iran motivated political decision. Ankara summoned Iraqi Ambassador over Bashiqa's closing Ankara summoned Iraqi ambassador in Turkey and strongly condemned the decision saying it did not reflect the opinion of the Iraqi people, which Turkey has stood by and supported for years. Turkey's foreign ministry said Ankara has been fighting Daesh, which is a threat to its national security, and that Ankara is a member of an international coalition fighting the terror group. Iran's presence in Iraq increasesMeanwhile, the Iranian government and its proxies stepped up their role in Iraq. Iran keeps to a deafening silence on the issue, but a Tehran-influenced Shia leader attempted to spread danger, calling Shia militias to attack Turkish military.Turkey says Iraqi lawmakers' decision temporary Ayatollah Qasim al-Tai, a Shia cleric who split from the Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr and embraced the Iranian Shia concept, has given a fatwa claiming that fighting against Turkey's military in Bashiqa was a “religious duty". Shia militia group Hashd al-Shaabi, which declared not to join the Mosul operation, also vowed to fight against the Turkish military. Yousuf al Kilabi, a spokesman for the Hashd al-Shaabi militias, said that all forces stationed in northern Iraq are “invaders" and they will fight against these forces, including the Turkish military. US attempts to change the balance of the fighters Moreover, 20 Sunni fighters who have been trained for months to take part in the Mosul offensive, were killed by U.S. airstrikes. Sunni sources from the ground said the U.S. military planned to establish a military base near Mosul, as part of its new strategy for more bases in Kurdish populated areas in northern Iraq and Syria. Following Turkey's harsh condemning over the incidents circling Mosul offensive, the U.S. and NATO gave new statements clarifying the situation. US now says Iraq permits the Turkish military's presence The Press Desk of the U.S.-led coalition, also known as Operation Inherent Resolve (CTJF-OIR), denied colonel Dorrian's statement on Turkey's military presence in Iraq being “illegal", saying that the reporting on the issue was “errant". It said that Turkey's forces, as a member of the international coalition and a strong NATO ally, “are in Iraq in coordination with and with the permission of the government of Iraq." NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also said that NATO would continue training the local forces in Iraq against Daesh, but the alliance would not join the operation directly. 'Iraq belongs to Iraqis', says Turkey's deputy PM
'Iraq cannot achieve a solution without Turkey'
The military operation which is aimed at liberating Mosul, an Iraqi city that Daesh has declared as its so-called headquarters, and expected to be conducted in Iraq's Mosul soon has brought up the importance of turning over a new leaf in the bilateral relations of Turkey and Iraq. Chairman of the Iraqi Turkmen Front and Kirkuk deputy Salih Ersad said close bilateral relations of Turkey and Iraq is a 'must' for the sake of the operation. "If Iraqi forces cooperate with Turkish forces, the terror corridor would be prevented. However Iraq cannot achieve a solution without Turkey," Ersad said. Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara Hisham Allawi said Iraq will be needing Turkey during the reconstruction and preparing substructure phases. 'Iraq is irreplaceable for Turkey' "The two countries had very good relations in 2013. Now, the two countries should make it even better than in 2013. Our investors and economists are eager to pay a visit to Turkey," he said. Emin Taha, the President of Foreign Economic Relations Board's Turkey Iraqi Business Council, said that Iraq is irreplaceable for Turkey in terms of economy. "Daesh terrorism interrupts the Turkish investments in Iraq. Iraq's oil income decreased to 40 billion dollars from 100 billion dollars," he said. 80 Daesh targets in Northern Syria hit by Turkish military Columbia University Global Energy Policy Research Center Director Dr. Luay Khateeb said that Turkey and Iraq should restart to improve bilateral relations at the state level, not individually. "The bilateral relations are limited with relations between some politicians and parties. Many of these Iraqi politicians and parties lost their legitimacy in Iraq already," Khateeb said. 'Turkey should be involved in the operation' Iraqi politician and former Mosul Governor Atheel Al Nujaifi said that Turkey must contribute to the Mosul operation, after its success in clearing Jarabulus from the Daesh terrorists. Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, in his speech to Yeni Şafak daily newspaper, said that including Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK) terrorists in an operation in the Middle East would be a “fatal error". Daesh attack foiled south of Mosul: Military source "If any of the party does such a mistake, then this move would transform the relation with Turkey, making it 'irreparable'. Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawer, Iraq's first president after Saddam Hussein, said he believes the importance of the relations between Baghdad-Ankara. "To remove the radicalism, Iraqi politics should be involved in the solution process," he said. Strained relations with Turkey The declarations of experts followed Iraq officials' statements which say Turkish forces will not be allowed to participate in military operations aimed at liberating Mosul, an Iraqi city that Daesh has declared as its so-called headquarters. On Monday, a spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, regarding the need for the participation of Turkish forces in the Mosul operation, strain the bilateral ties.Mosul plan in 'final stage': Iraqi official Ankara, in December 2015, deployed about 150 soldiers equipped with heavy weapons and backed by two dozen tanks to Bashiqa of Mosul, aiming at training and equipping Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against Daesh. Iraq facing security gap since 2014 Iraq has suffered a devastating security gap since 2014, when Daesh captured the northern city of Mosul along with vast swathes of territory in the country's northern and western regions. In recent months, the Iraqi army, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes and local allies on the ground, has since managed to retake much of the territory lost earlier to Daesh. However, the terrorist group remains in firm control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.