The United States urged Turkey and Iraq to overcome a dispute over about 2,000 Turkish troops stationed in northern Iraq and said the troops should only be there with Baghdad's approval.
The attempt to mediate between two important U.S. allies came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted on October 11 that "we don't need permission" to keep Turkish troops in the Bashiqa camp in Kurdish-controlled Iraq and that the troops will participate in an upcoming campaign to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
But the U.S. State Department said that foreign military forces should only be in Iraq at Baghdad's invitation and they should join the anti-IS coalition that already is operating there and is preparing an assault on Mosul.
"The Turkish forces that are deployed in Iraq are not there as part of the international coalition...It is imperative for all parties to coordinate closely over the coming days and weeks to ensure unity of effort in defeating Daesh," State Department spokesman John Kirby said, using another term for IS.
He added that "the situation in Bashiqa is a matter for the governments of Iraq and Turkey to resolve."