Iraqi Grand Ayatollah slams Turkish military presence in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Dec. 12 (MNA) – Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani criticized on Friday the deployment of Turkish troops and tanks near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, and reiterated the immediate and unconditional removal demand.

"No country should send its soldiers to the territory of another state under the pretext of supporting it in fighting terrorism without the conclusion of an agreement between the governments of the two countries," said Al Sistani in remarks delivered by a representative at weekly Friday prayers.

Al Sistani categorically rejected the statement made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that Turkey will not pull out troops already stationed in Iraq, and warned that the Iraqi people will protect the country's sovereignty.

About 150 men with military vehicles, including tanks and armored vehicles, invaded Iraq and stayed in a base near Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Ninive, which is under the control of ISIL since June last year.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi also demanded his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu the Turkish troops' withdrawal from Iraq, but despite of repeated calls Ankara has disregarded the pulledout.

Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has defended the deployment as an "act of solidarity" and said that when the threats (to the trainers) increased, they sent troops to protect the camp.





News Code 112751


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