Iraq's PM has again demanded that Ankara pull out its force protection unit after additional Turkish troops were deployed to the Mosul area. Baghdad has hinted at military action to defend Iraqi sovereignty.
Iraqi leader Haider al Abadi told his Turkish counterpart on Wednesday by phone that the Ankara government had not respected an earlier call to pull out a small contingent of troops that were covertly deployed to the Mosul area earlier this month.
A diplomatic spat flared up when the Turkish force protection unit was sent to northern Iraq amid security concerns near the Bashiqa military base, where Turkey's troops have been training an Iraqi militia to fight "Islamic State" (IS) insurgents.
"We request that the Turkish government announce immediately that it will withdraw from Iraqi territory," al Abadi said, according to a statement from his media office.
Baghdad not informed
He reminded Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday that Baghdad had not approved the deployment, adding that there was no reason for Turkey to expose its trainers to danger by sending them "deep inside Iraqi borders."
Ankara has promised to withdraw some of the troops after saying there had been a "miscommunication" over the deployment.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says a total withdrawal is out of the question.
Iraqi security forces have had only a limited presence in the northern Nineveh province where the camp is located since they were overrun by the IS advance in June 2014.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that even military action would be considered to "defend our sovereignty and riches."
He added that the government was committed to exhausting peaceful diplomatic avenues to avoid a crisis with Turkey.
US backs Baghdad
Washington and the Arab League have also called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops, urging Ankara's full cooperation with Baghdad.
Since the row erupted, the Bashiqa base has come under fire from IS rockets during an attack on Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the area.
On Monday, Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes drove IS militants out of the city center of Ramadi, which the jihadists had controlled since May.
mm/bk (AP, AFP, Reuters)