Turkey has no secret agenda in Iraq: Turkish presidential aide

– Ibrahim Kalin says Turkey is not eyeing Iraq’s territory

– Turkey has no secret agenda in Iraq, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday.

Speaking to the media at the presidential complex in Ankara, Kalin said: “Turkey is not eyeing Iraq’s territory and it has no secret agenda in Iraq, reported Anadolu Agency.

“Those who think otherwise are either acting maliciously or are under a big delusion.”

The presence of Turkish troops in Iraq was recently criticized by Baghdad. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Turkey’s military presence at the Bashiqa Camp in northern Iraq would continue despite the parliament in Baghdad branding Turkish forces as “occupiers” earlier this week.

Last December, Turkey sent some 150 troops and about two dozen combat tanks to Bashiqa, located some 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) northeast of Mosul.

A day after the Turkish parliament voted on Oct. 3 to extend its army’s mandate at Bashiqa Camp, Iraqi lawmakers rejected the extension and demanded a review of the country’s ties with Turkey.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi himself had asked for the formation of a military base in Bashiqa. Erdogan told Abadi to “know his limits,” reminding him the Turkish military presence in Iraq was due to a demand made by Baghdad itself