Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated here on Sunday that Turkish troops will remain in Iraq, overturning a foreign ministry pledge to the contrary.
“Turkish troops are in Iraq to provide protection for training troops and will continue to be there,” the president spoke at an event in Istanbul.
He repeated his argument that the soldiers were not deployed as combat troops and Turkey is “determined” to continue its training of Kurdish and Arab forces.
Ankara sent hundreds of troops to the Bashiqa camp in northern Iraq earlier this month, saying the forces were part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight the Islamic State (IS).
Baghdad, however, slammed the move and has brought the issue to the UN Security Council in its efforts to push for a complete withdrawal.
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