DAVOS, Switzerland – Iraq's prime minister is appealing to Turkey to pull its troops out of Iraqi territory and help better fight the Islamic State group, as both grapple with ways to thwart the extremist group that he insists is losing ground.
Haider al-Abadi spoke to The Associated Press after participating in a World Economic Forum panel in Davos, Switzerland about efforts to stabilize the Middle East, as security and defense issues took center stage at the four-day event.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Defense Secretary Ash Carter are also speaking Friday in Davos, where many attendees were discussing uncertainty about Syria's war and other geopolitical troubles that have weighed on an already wobbly global economy.
"We in Iraq want very good neighborly relations with Turkey, we hope Turkey will help us to fight Daesh," Abadi said, using another name for the radical group. "Daesh is killing our own citizens, occupying our own cities. We have 4 million internal refugees because of that, and Turkey should help us with that. And I appeal to the Turkish government to help us, and withdraw their forces."
He said Ankara hasn't responded to his government's question about why Turkish troops are in Iraq, adding: "We have to have an answer."
Turkey has had troops near the IS-controlled city of Mosul in northern Iraq since 2014. The arrival of additional troops last month sparked an uproar, and Ankara subsequently halted new deployments.
Turkey has not been clear about the exact number of troops it has deployed in Iraq, but the issue was one of several that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, in Istanbul on Friday, was expected to bring up in Saturday meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Kerry said the Obama administration will seek a major boost in funding for refugee support this year and press for at least 10 new countries to offer resettlement programs.
Speaking Friday in Davos, he said graft and ineffective governance had either caused or contributed greatly to crises in Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Ukraine, Libya and Yemen.