Obama presses Turkey’s president to lower tensions with Iraq
19 December 2015, Nirapad News: Urging an end to tensions between two U.S. partners, President Barack Obama asked Turkey on Friday to keep pulling its troops from a training camp in Iraq and respect the country’s integrity as a sovereign nation.
In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama urged the Turkish leader “to take additional steps to de-escalate tensions with Iraq,” the White House said, including removing more troops. The White House said both leaders were in agreement about the need to cooperate in fighting the Islamic State group and pursuing a resolution to Syria’s civil war.
Obama’s outreach marked the latest effort in an ongoing U.S. diplomatic campaign to resolve the spat between Iraq and Turkey, and followed phone calls earlier in the week between Vice President Joe Biden and the prime ministers of both Iraq and Turkey.
The dispute flared up earlier this month after Turkey sent reinforcements to a camp in northern Iraq where Sunni and Kurdish troops are being trained to fight IS militants. Turkey has stationed troops there since last year but recently sent more, claiming the need to protect its forces from IS attacks.
Tensions with Iraq have played out against the backdrop of Turkish concerns about Kurdish rebels that have been engaged in renewed fighting with Turkish troops since July. In the last three days, Turkish security forces have killed 62 Kurdish militants in two mainly Kurdish towns near the border with Iraq, Turkey’s military said. One Turkish soldier was killed.