A mistake in Mosul may risk Iraq, Turkey warns
REU PhotoAny offensive on Mosul intimately concerns Ankara as any mistake could lead to thousands of people fleeing their homeland, harm the struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and raise new complications in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said.
Turkey’s primary concern with regard to the Mosul offensive is to carry out the operation in such a way as to protect the people of Mosul, the spokesperson told reporters on Oct. 13.
“The deployment of troops at the Bashiqa camp [near Mosul] is merely to meet the security needs of the camp since it is close to the area in which clashes are taking place,” he said in reply to criticisms from Baghdad regarding Turkish forces in northern Iraq.
Turkey does not have an eye on Iraq’s land or a secret agenda, he said, adding that whoever thinks otherwise is either ill-intentioned or deluded, Kalın said.
Turkey is concerned about reports that the PKK will participate in the Mosul operation from the Sinjar region, he said, adding that Ankara had shared information and documents on this issue with relevant parties, particularly Iraqi officials.
Turkey and Iraq are conducting negotiations on Turkish troops at the Bashiqa military camp, Kalın said, adding that they wanted to resolve the Bashiqa dispute with Iraq through negotiations between Ankara and Baghdad.
But some circles want to create tension not only in terms of ties between Turkey and Iraq, but also over the issue of Shiite and Sunni, Kalın stated.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, Faruk Kaymakçı, on Oct. 13 to protest the continued presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq. The Turkish ambassador was given “a strongly worded formal note of protest” regarding “the continued presence of Turkish forces near Bashiqa and recent abusive statements from their leadership,” ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal told Agence France-Presse.
The presence of Turkish troops in Iraq was recently criticized by Baghdad. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Turkey’s military presence at the Bashiqa camp would continue even though Baghdad had previously branded Turkish forces as “occupiers.”
Justice minister to visit US
U.S. officials’ demanded for sufficient evidence on Gülen are producing antipathy in the Turkish public, Kalın said.
Ankara has respected the spirit of the extradition agreement with the U.S. but will reconsider its attitude if it sees a lack of good intentions.
U.S. officials do not appear to have understood the seriousness of Turkey’s call to extradite Gülen, he said.
Ankara has demanded Gulen be extradited to Turkey from the United States, but U.S. officials have said they are reviewing the evidence Turkey has provided.