ERBIL, Kurdistan – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg vowed Tuesday to preserve the integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called on the organization to use its authority to force a withdrawal of Turkish forces from Iraq.
“In a phone call with Jens Stoltenberg, Haider al-Abadi, prime minister of Iraq, said that Turkey deployed its troops in Iraq without Baghdad’s consent and that we refuse the present of Turkish forces from the land of Iraq,” Abadi’s office said in an announcement Tuesday.
“Before the ending of a 48 hour ultimatum to withdraw forces, Iraq will through diplomatic channels call on Turkey to abide by Baghdad’s decree to withdraw its forces immediately, because they have explicitly violated the sovereignty of Iraq,” Abadi had said.
He called on NATO to “use its authority against Turkey to withdraw its troops from Iraq.”
Stoltenberg assured Abadi that the issue would be discussed inside NATO, and stressed that the issue can only be resolved through diplomatic negotiations,
On Saturday, Turkey revealed it had been training Peshmerga forces in four provinces in Iraq, after Baghdad disclosed that fresh forces had been sent into Iraq without consultations with the central government.
A new force of some 150 trainers was relieving the previous team, it said.
On Sunday, Baghdad gave Turkey 48 hours to withdraw the forces.