Former consul Yılmaz: Does Turkey know its next move in Mosul?
Şehriban Oğhan - ANKARA
AA photoAnkara’s former consul general to Mosul, Öztürk Yılmaz, has raised questions over what will happen next if Turkey helps to clear Mosul of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants by sending troops to Bashiqa.
Yılmaz, who was kidnapped by ISIL back in 2014 but is now a deputy for the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told daily Hürriyet on Dec. 7 that Ankara’s next step in the area is key.
“Even if Turkey clears Mosul of ISIL via a ground operation, what will be its next step? Who will control the area? If the area is to be controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG], what is the significance of this action for Turkey?” Yılmaz asked.
“The [Turkish troops] are not an operational unit and I don’t know why the government has hidden the issue until now. The international community has been discussing ways to remove ISIL from Mosul for around a year now, since ISIL seized control of the city, but no concrete steps have been taken yet. If Mosul is seized from ISIL then it will be major blow to the group, but who will then control Mosul? If it is to be controlled by Kurds like Sinjar, then a completely different scenario comes into play,” said Yılmaz, claiming that Kurdish fighters in the region were keen to take control of both Kirkuk and Mosul in order to extend their area of control.
Yılmaz also suggested that if this scenario takes place, a larger area in Syria would likely come under the control of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“We will be helping others to extend their own land. I don’t understand what Turkey wants to do here. How can we read a foreign policy when the second and third steps are not calculated?” he said.
The Turkish military recently released details of a training program for Kurdish Peshmerga fighters that it has been operating in Iraq. Around 150 Turkish troops were deployed to the town of Bashiqa to replace training forces already in Mosul, while 20 to 25 tanks were also dispatched to the area.
Turkish army sources said on Dec. 5 that they had been training fighters in four provinces of northern Iraq with the ultimate aim of fighting ISIL.