ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has no intention of pulling out troops that are stationed in Iraq as part of a training mission to help combat the Islamic State group.
Turkey has stationed troops near Mosul since last year, but the arrival of additional troops last week sparked an uproar in Baghdad, forcing Turkey to halt the new deployment.
Erdogan told reporters Thursday that the troops were deployed in 2014 in response to a request from the Iraqi government. He insisted the troops consist of a non-combative force.
Erdogan said: "Withdrawal is out of the question for the time being."
The Turkish leader said a trilateral meeting, gathering officials from Turkey, the United States and the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, would take place on Dec. 21.
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