More than 100 Turkish soldiers have been deployed to an area near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, currently under control of the Islamic State (IS) group, to replace a unit providing training to Iraqi troops, Turkish media reported on Friday.
Around 150 soldiers, backed by 20 to 25 tanks, were sent by road to the Bashiqa town in Mosul, Anatolia news said, citing anonymous sources.
They replaced Turkish troops sent to the region two-and-a-half years ago in order to train Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces, Anatolia added.
Iraq’s foreign ministry released a press release late Friday night saying that the Turkish troops had violated of the country’s sovereignty and demanded the soldiers to withdraw immediately.
Long criticised by its western allies for not doing enough to stem the rise of IS, Turkey joined the US-led coalition against the group in late July.
In June 2014 IS kidnapped 49 staff from Turkey’s consulate in Mosul after seizing control of the city.
They were all released unharmed in September 2014 after top-secret negotiations led by Turkey’s intelligence agency that reportedly resulted in the release of IS prisoners in Turkey in exchange for the embassy staff. MIDDLE EAST EYE