Turkey’s Decision to Pull Back From Iraq Welcome

Turkey’s Decision to Pull Back From Iraq Welcome Turkey’s Decision to Pull Back From Iraq Welcome

A senior official welcomed Turkey's decision to pull out its forces from Iraq and respect the Arab country's territorial integrity as a positive move.

"This [issue] that the Turkish government has decided to observe good neighborliness with Iraq and respect Iraq's territorial integrity is a positive step," Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, said on Saturday, Press TV reported.

"We welcome any kind of friendship among regional countries … We do not welcome any tension between Turkey and Iraq."

After a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Baghdad on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his administration has reached an agreement with Turkey over Baghdad's demand for the withdrawal of Turkish military forces from a camp in the north of the Arab country.

"The prime minister and the delegation accompanying him confirmed that this issue will be solved in a satisfactory manner soon," Abadi said.

Iraq's state TV, which aired Abadi's announcement, did not provide further details about the agreement over Turkey's military presence in the Iraqi town of Bashiqa.

Turkey had deployed about 500 troops to a facility in the Iraqi town last year, saying it was wary of potential attacks by the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group currently based in the Iraqi city of Mosul, near Bashiqa.

Iraq had repeatedly called on Turkey to withdraw its forces or risk a potential confrontation with the Iraqi military, which is currently battling IS in Mosul. Baghdad has also refused Ankara's call for involvement in the operation to liberate Mosul.

Velayati stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation among Middle East countries.

"The regional nations' prosperity hinges on regional cooperation and prevention of any tension among neighbors," he said.

He said regional countries should not interfere in the domestic affairs of each other, voicing Iran's opposition to any meddling in the internal affairs of states.

The Leader's advisor said neither Turkey nor Syria would benefit from tension between the two countries. He emphasized that stability in Turkey-Syria relations depends on the recognition of equal rights, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Turkey's controversial deployment of troops to northern Iraq followed Ankara's military activities in neighboring Syria.

A Turkish operation against militants in northern Syria, which began in August 2016, faced similar criticism from the Syrian government. Turkey says it will continue the push, which it says is meant to root out IS, but seems to be aimed at preventing Kurdish militants from gaining control of areas bordering Turkey.  


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