Thousands of Iraqis Protest Against Turkish Military Presence

Rallies Reported in Baghdad, Basra

Major rallies were reported in the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad as well as the southeastern port of Basra, with thousands of demonstrators, led by Shi’ite militia leaders and top Shi’ite politicians, angrily condemning the Turkish deployment of troops into Nineveh Province.

On December 4, Turkey sent around 150 troops into Nineveh Province, a move the Turkish government says was to train Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Iraqi PM Hayder Abadi said the deployment was unapproved and demanded Turkey withdraw. Turkey has ruled out leaving.

The demonstrations in Baghdad were led by former PM Nouri al-Maliki and Badr Brigade leader Hadi Amiri, though they insisted they support Abadi’s efforts and believe he will eventually succeed in getting Turkey to leave quietly.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) denied making any side deals with Turkey on troops entering Iraqi territory, but claimed that Abadi’s office approved the Turkish deployments months ago. Abadi denies this.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.