- Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani will visit Turkey on Dec. 9, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.
The visit was planned before tension erupted between Baghdad and Ankara over the latter's move to send additional troops to Mosul to train local Iraqi Sunni guards, Çavuşoğlu added. He said it was earlier scheduled for Dec. 4, but postponed after Turkey sent troops to Mosul.
Çavuşoğlu also stressed that the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad had told Iraqi officials and the Turkish air commander had spoken to his Iraqi counterpart to emphasize that Ankara would “never take steps to damage Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He also said the Iraqi defense minister will also visit Turkey in the coming period.
‘Baghdad acts under the influence of other countries'
Speaking on rising tension between Baghdad and Ankara, the foreign minister said Iraq, after forming its new government, had repeatedly requested more active Turkish support against the Islamic State (IS).
He said he believed that “other countries” played a role in Iraq's reaction against Turkey.
“Baghdad is acting under the influence of other countries” Çavuşoğlu said. “It is our duty to provide security for our soldiers providing training there.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Dec. 6 that Baghdad might turn to the U.N. Security Council if Turkish troops sent to northern Iraq are not withdrawn within 48 hours.
Abadi said the deployment of hundreds of Turkish forces had taken place without the approval or knowledge of the Iraqi government, and described their deployment as a “violation of national sovereignty.”