Iraq Complains to UN as Turkish Troops Refuse to Withdraw

Sistani: Govt Must Show No Tolerance for Violation of Sovereignty

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry today was instructed to lodge a formal complaint against Turkey to the UN Security Council, citing a solid week since Turkish ground troops arrived in the Nineveh Province, and continue to refuse to leave.

Turkey has insisted the troops are there to train Kurdish forces, and President Erdogan said a withdrawal was “out of the question.” The Iraqi government has previously sought help from NATO in convincing Turkey to leave, though unsuccessfully.

Iraq’s top religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, has issued a statement today urging the Iraqi government to do something, saying the government is obliged to show “no tolerance” to any violations of its sovereignty, and saying other nations shouldn’t use the “pretext of fighting terrorism” to send troops into Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi has been under growing pressure to stand up to other nations involved in the ISIS war, particularly with previous US deployments coming without any invitation from Iraqi officials. This sense that Abadi is being pushed around is only growing with Turkey’s presence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.