Obama urges Turkey’s Erdogan to withdraw troops from Iraq
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WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama urged Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pull troops out of Iraq Friday, amid a row that has split key members of the coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
Obama ”urged President Erdogan to take additional steps to deescalate tensions with Iraq, including by continuing to withdraw Turkish military forces,” the White House said after a phonecall between the two leaders.
Obama also ”reinforced the need for Turkey to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.”
The Iraqi government has demanded the ”complete withdrawal” of Turkish forces from its territory, indicating Ankara’s partial pullout was not enough.
Perennially embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has faced intense political pressure to end the Turkish deployment.
Turkey said it had deployed troops and tanks to a military camp in northern Iraq earlier this month to protect Turkish trainers working with anti-Islamic State groups.
Observers have suggested Ankara is also trying to forestall efforts by its arch-foe, Kurdish rebel group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, to expand its influence in the region. (AFP)
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