Thousands of Shiite militiamen and their supporters rallied on Saturday, demanding withdrawal of Turkish troops from Iraq.
Although Iraq has witnessed the presence of Turkish troops near the city of Mosul in Northern part of the country since last year, the arrival of additional troops last week has caused uproar in the country, according to the Associated Press.
Hadi al-Amiri, who is the leader of a powerful Shiite militia Badr Brigade, called for the Turkish troops to leave, this lead to cheer and chants.
Militiamen and their supporters gathered in Baghdad's Tahrir square, they were chanting, "No to occupation, no to Turkey." Some people burned Turkey's flags, as stated in the Associated Press report.
"This is a clear message that the Iraqi politicians and the people of Iraq are against this intrusion into the sovereignty of Iraq," said Saad al-Muttalibi, an Iraqi lawmaker and close Maliki ally.
He further said, "We support the processes, but we think the people will be heard in such important events," Associated Press reported.
A 40-year-old Baghdadi businessman named Hussein Ali was of the view that troops belonging to one country cannot enter another country without approval from the country's government.
A lead research scholar at Brandeis University Harith al-Qarawee said the protest was "as much about Baghdad politics as it was about tensions with Turkey".
"For Maliki and his allies in the Shia paramilitary groups, this was an opportunity to consolidate their Shia constituency," Qarawee said. It was also a chance to show that Abadi and his allies "cannot match their powerful reaction to the Turkish intervention," he added, according to the Associated Press report.
Qarawee also believed the country's internal divisions were not only hampering the country's fight against the Islamic State group, they were also encouraging other powers to bypass the central government.
Although the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey would not pull out troops already deployed in Iraq and that the training process in agreement with Iraq would continue, Associated Press reported.