No: 303, 8 December 2015, Press Release Regarding the Training Activity by Turkey in Bashiqa, Iraq

Republic of Turkey considers the terrorist organization DAESH and its presence in our region as a major threat to its national security and strives to take all necessary measures to eliminate it and address the circumstances that lead to its emergence.

Turkey, with this understanding, actively participates since the first day in the work of the International Coalition Against DAESH, and provides support to its friendly neighbor Iraq, one-third of whose territory is under the occupation of this terrorist organization, in its fight.

In this context, Turkey has so far provided training to more than 5.000 Iraqi personnel and have also provided to the Iraqi Government and the KRG with various military equipment.

Lately, the training program run by Turkey since March 2015 in the training camp established in Bashiqa and the force protection measures taken for the security of the camp and the trainers have been subjected to intentional, exaggerated and inaccurate reporting and commentary.

The mandate of the Turkish elements in Bashiqa is to provide training to Iraqi volunteers within the scope of the fight against DAESH, and they have not been given combat duties and responsibilities.

It is unacceptable even to consider that Turkey, who has a great sensitivity for the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq and who expects all countries to act in the same way, would take a step that will undermine and weaken it. With this understanding and taking into account the sensitivities created by the exaggerated reports in the friendly and brotherly Iraqi authorities and their public opinion, the deployment of Turkish forces to Bashiqa has been halted two days ago.

These facts have also been conveyed by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and H.E. İsmet Yılmaz, Minister of National Defense, to their Iraqi counterparts on telephone and furthermore, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have informed the Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Ebadi on the activity carried out by Turkey in a letter.

We expect this matter to be discussed by the Ministers of National Defense of the two countries within the framework of our close relations with Iraq and our contributions in its fight against DAESH, and necessary arrangements to be made in accordance with the agreement to be reached in these discussions with regard to increasing or decreasing the number of military personnel and their duties, and the activity of Turkey for the training the volunteers in Bashika.

As a country which has profoundly suffered from terrorism and which supports Iraq in its difficult fight against DAESH, Turkey will continue to extend the necessary contributions to the Iraqi Government in its efforts countering our common enemy DAESH in consultation and coordination.