Sunday, December 6, 2015

Iraq gives Turkish forces 48 hours to withdraw or face "all available options"

Baghdad (AFP) - Iraq on Sunday gave Turkey 48 hours to withdraw forces it said had entered the country illegally or face "all available options", including recourse to the UN Security Council.

Baghdad, which is struggling to assert its sovereignty while receiving foreign assistance against the Islamic State jihadist group, said Turkish forces with tanks and artillery entered Iraq without its permission.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a letter to his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi that there would be no deployment of forces until Baghdad's concerns were addressed.

However, the future of the forces already sent remained unclear.

"In the absence of the withdrawal of these forces within 48 hours, Iraq has the right to use all available options," including recourse to the Security Council, a statement from Abadi's office said.

The Turkish forces entered "without the approval or knowledge of the Iraqi government," it said.