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Turkish PM Holds Talks With Iraqi Leaders Over Troop Presence

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (file photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım (file photo)

Turkey's prime minister held talks with his Iraqi counterpart as the two sides sought to resolve the dispute over Turkish troops operating near the Iraqi city of Mosul.

There were conflicting reports on January 7 whether an agreement had been reached after Binali Yildirim of Turkey and Haidar al-Abadi of Iraq met in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Abadi told a joint press conference that the Turkish delegation "stressed that this issue will be resolved in a proper way within the [coming] short period."

Yildirim tried to emphasize the importance of Iraq's sovereignty.

"We will not allow or be involved in any attempt or move to hurt its sovereignty," he said.

Roughly 500 Turkish troops arrived in the Bashiqa region, northeast of Mosul last year, without Baghdad's permission.

Iraq has demanded their withdrawal, saying they are in "blatant violation" of Iraqi sovereignty.

Mosul is the focus on an intense campaign by Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. airpower and Kurdish and Shi'ite militias, to retake the city from Islamic State militants.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

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