Turkish, UK FMs discuss troop presence in northern Iraq

– Turkish forces in northern Iraq are largely based in Bashiqa, a training camp northeast of Mosul

– Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had a phone conversation on Sunday, which was dominated by Turkey’s military presence in northern Iraq’s Bashiqa camp, diplomatic sources said, according to Anadolu Agency.

According to Turkish sources who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, the two ministers exchanged views on the latest developments in Iraq and Turkey’s military presence in Bashiqa.

The ongoing Syrian crisis was also discussed during the phone call.

Cavusoglu and Johnson spoke while the Turkish minister was in Bangkok to attend the Second Asia Cooperation Dialogue Summit.

Turkish forces in northern Iraq are largely based in Bashiqa, a training camp around 12 kilometers (7 miles) northeast of Mosul. An offensive to take back the city is expected by the end of the year.

The Turkish troops in Bashiqa have been training local forces on how to fight Daesh.

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.

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.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday that Turkey’s military presence in Bashiqa would continue despite the Iraqi parliament’s mislabeling Turkish troops in the country as “occupiers”.