Iraqi PM declines Turkish offer to help in Mosul after meeting Carter
BAGHDAD – Reuters
Iraqi forces gather during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 21, 2016. REUTERS photo
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declined an offer from Turkey to take part in the battle to dislodge Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from Mosul after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Baghdad on Oct. 22.
"I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle," Abadi told reporters traveling with Carter. "If help is needed, we will ask for it from Turkey or from other regional countries."
During a visit to Turkey on Oct. 21, Carter had signaled conditional support for a possible Turkish role in the campaign and said there was an agreement in principle that could allow for eventual Turkish participation.
The details on that Turkish role, however, were still subject to negotiation, Carter and other officials acknowledged at the time, and Iraq would need to agree.
By the tone of Abadi's comments on Oct. 22, that appeared unlikely anytime soon.
Turkey has been locked in a row with Iraq's central government over the presence of Turkish troops at the Bashiqa camp, where it has trained thousands of troops.
Erdoğan has warned of sectarian bloodshed if the Iraqi army relies on Shiite militia fighters to retake the largely Sunni city of Mosul.