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Turkey Defends Troop Deployment In Northern Iraq

Turkey has defended its deployment of additional forces to Iraq, saying it was an "act of solidarity" with Baghdad's fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Turkey has stationed troops at a base near Mosul since last year as part of a training mission coordinated with the Baghdad government.

The arrival of additional Turkish forces last week, however, sparked uproar in the Iraqi capital.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on December 9 that the additional troops were deployed to protect the trainers amid an increased threat from IS militants.

This was "not an act of aggression but an act of solidarity," he said.

Asked about Baghdad's request to withdraw the troops, Davutoglu said, "When we saw the reaction we stopped the transfer, but we cannot leave these trainers without protection."

Iraq's UN Ambassador Muhammad Alhakim said on December 8 that Baghdad and Ankara were working to solve the dispute bilaterally and that the talks were "going very well."

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP