Turkish PM arrives in Baghdad for talks to solve dispute
BAGHDAD, Jan. 7 -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim arrived Saturday in Baghdad on an official visit to hold talks with the Iraqi leaders to end the diplomatic crisis between the two countries, the Iraqi official television reported.
Yildirim is expected to meet with his Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi and other top Iraqi officials to discuss the fight against Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and means to enhance bilateral relations, the state-run Iraqiya channel said.
Yildirim, who is accompanied with a delegation of Turkish ministers and top officials, is also expected to visit Arbil, capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan to meet with the Kurdish leaders, including the region's President Masoud Barzani.
Hundreds of Turkish soldiers have deployed since 2015 in Bashiqa camp, some 30 km northeast of Mosul.
The presence of the Turkish troops led to a dispute between Iraq and Turkey, as Baghdad repeatedly said that Turkish forces entered Iraq without the knowledge of the Iraqi government, which views their presence as a violation of the country's sovereignty.
However, Ankara said that Turkish soldiers were sent to Bashiqa at the request of Abadi, and that their presence was aimed at training both Peshmerga fighters and local tribal volunteers in combat IS extremist militants in Mosul.