ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey withdrew some of its soldiers stationed at a camp in Iraq as part of a "rearrangement" of its troops, the country's state-run news agency reported on Monday, days after Iraq demanded that Turkish troops immediately pull out from Iraqi territory.
Anadolu Agency, quoting unnamed military officials, said that a 10 or 12-vehicle convoy, including tanks, had left the Bashiqa camp and was heading toward northern Iraq. The agency did not provide further details but said the military officials insisted the movement was part of a "rearrangement."
Turkey has had troops near the Islamic State group-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq since last year to help train local Kurdish and Sunni forces, but the arrival of additional troops earlier this month sparked uproar in Baghdad. Turkey subsequently halted new deployments but has refused to withdraw its soldiers.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from northern Iraq in a national address Friday night, insisting no foreign forces are needed to fight the Islamic State group in his country.
He also asked the Foreign Ministry to submit a complaint to the United Nations about the presence of Turkish troops.
Turkey argued that the additional troops were needed to protect its trainers from increased IS threat against Turkish soldiers.