What are we doing in Mosul?
If Turkey has reinforced its troops in Mosul with the secret intention of gaining land, then it means it has launched a very dangerous venture.
If there is no such thing and it has only strengthened its units that are already there for training and intelligence in agreement with coalition countries, then it has done a correct and legitimate act.
First, let us take a look at Turkey’s founding principle which can be summarized as “Peace at home, peace abroad” – we have no designs on any inch of anybody else’s land.”
On Feb. 27, 1923, the course of the Lausanne talks was discussed in the parliament. It was confirmed that we were not able to have Mosul and the islands in the Aegean. The talks in Lausanne collapsed and İsmet Pasha was back in Ankara explaining why we had not continued the war for Mosul and the islands.
In his long speech, İsmet Pasha reminded us that very wide borders do not necessarily mean a safer country: “In any country we will ensure, it does not guarantee a secure life for us regardless of bigger or wider borders.” The aim is not to enlarge our land but to have secure borders.
The children of the empire which collapsed with colossal disasters and pains founded the new state not with new conquests, but with the idea of a “safe country.” They did the right thing. New generations were educated not with the aggression of irredentism, but with the correct principle of being an honorable member of the family of nations.
Not only Atatürk and İnönü, but opposition names such as Kazım Karabekir and Rauf Bey also agreed.
This was seen best when İnönü kept Turkey out of World War II as he was not tempted by land offers; how correct he was at the end of the war.
No government of the republic should be infected with the “irredentism” disease.
It is indeed well-timed that today, conservative Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, while explaining the reinforcement of our training and intelligence units in Mosul, emphasized this principle of our founding philosophy: “We do not have designs on anybody else’s land.”
Turkey’s military presence in northern Iraq started in the 1990s to support Masoud Barzani against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It continued mostly for intelligence activities. Today, Turkey is training the Peshmarga and the Arabs from Mosul against ISIL in four camps in northern Iraq.
ISIL seized Mosul on June 10, 2014, defeating the Iraq army and confiscating $420 million from the Central Bank. The next day it took hostage 49 people on duty at the Turkish Consulate.
On Feb. 21, 2015, Turkey changed the location of the Süleyman Şah tomb due to the risk of an ISIL attack. The Suruç and Ankara massacres of the ISIL barbarism are well-known.
Now, coalition planes are using Turkey’s İncirlik Base to bomb ISIL in Syria.
The biggest training camp is in the Bashiqa region, but downtown Bashiqa is controlled by ISIL. These camps could come under attack from ISIL, so it is natural to send reinforcements.
Shiite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of the Iraqi government, whose army abandoned Mosul to ISIL, is annoyed by Turkey’s reinforcements. However, the Barzani administration is happy. The effective training of the Peshmarga is necessary to counter-balance both ISIL and the PKK.
We can never have any “irredentist” business in Mosul. However, we do indeed have “security” business in our south, together with the international coalition.