Iraq says deal reached over withdrawal of Turkish forces from Bashiqa

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and his Turkish counterpart reach an agreement over the withdrawal of Turkish forces from a town near Mosul in the north of the country

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Saturday an agreement had been reached with Turkey over an Iraqi demand that Turkish forces withdraw from a town near Mosul in the north of the country, Iraqi state TV reported.

Abadi met his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim in Baghdad. State television did not provide further details about the agreement over the town of Bashiqa, where Turkish forces have been stationed since before a recent offensive against Islamic State in northern Iraq.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey’s Bashiqa camp in Iraq, which had caused a row between the two countries, would be resolved in a “friendly manner.”

According to a statement by the Iraqi Prime Minister office, Iraq and Turkey has agreed upon several points, including joint efforts to fight terror, respecting both countries sovereignty, increasing the trade level between both countries and increase cooperation on the management of Tigris and Euphrates waters.

The statement added that “both sides agreed that Bashiqa base is an Iraqi base, and both countries will not allow presence of any terrorist organizations in their countries and will work together alongside with the Coalition on fighting terrorism.”

“We talked about this topic. This was not due to pleasure, it has been born out of necessity. We see that a significant step has been taken to clear Daesh from the region. In accordance with that, we will resolve this topic in a friendly manner,” said Yıldırım in a joint press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Jan. 7, in Baghdad.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Iraq and Turkey came to blows in October over the continued presence of Turkish forces in Bashiqa and elsewhere in northern Iraq, with each government summoning the other’s ambassador just as the U.S.-backed campaign to drive IS out of Mosul was set to begin.