Turkey to continue Bashiqa presence ‘as long as needed’

– Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus says Turkey’s presence in Iraq’s Bashiqa is ‘legitimate’

– Turkey will continue its presence in Iraq’s Bashiqa as long as needed, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Wednesday, according to Anadolu Agency.

Speaking at Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk in Ankara, Kurtulmus said: “Turkey’s presence in Bashiqa is legitimate. We will continue our presence there as long as Turkey is needed there.”

He said Turkey’s presence was for the purpose of supporting the people of Mosul.

He added the problems of Daesh-held Mosul city would not resolve if terrorist groups like the PYD and the YGP get involved.

In December last year, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Camp Bashiqa, located roughly 12 kilometers northeast of the Daesh-held city of Mosul.

The deployment — which was criticized at the time by Baghdad — was aimed at providing protection to Turkish military personnel who had been tasked with training Iraqi volunteers to fight Daesh.