Turkey assessing ‘further contribution’ to military operation in Mosul: Minister
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
REUTERS PhotoTurkey will continue to assess its “further contribution” to an international military operation to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz stated on March 2.
As Ankara is currently planning to provide training to members of some Sunni tribes around Mosul as part of efforts to degrade and defeat jihadists in northern Iraq, bilateral cooperation with Baghdad in the fight against the ISIL could be concretized during Yılmaz’s upcoming visit to Iraq.
Turkey is part of the collation against ISIL and “has started to make a concrete contribution,” Yılmaz told reporters, amid speculation about the planned upcoming operation to force the jihadists out of Mosul.
“We’ll carry out the evaluation for further contribution in due course, based on our national interests. Ultimately we’ll fulfill our responsibility as a coalition member,” he added.
Citing recent remarks by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Yılmaz said Turkey was “ready to fulfill its responsibilities if others do so too.”
He is set to travel to Iraq on March 4 to visit both Baghdad and Arbil, accompanied by officials from both the Foreign Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces.
During the visit, Turkish and Iraqi officials are expected to sign bilateral agreements for the sharing of intelligence information as part of efforts in the fight against the ISIL threat, according to sources.
Turkey plans to provide training for members of certain tribes in Mosul province and deliver non-lethal military equipment, as is the case with the Iraqi Kurds, diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.
The exiled governor of Mosul, Atheel al-Nujaifi, claimed on March 1 that Ankara will take part in the offensive aiming to retake Mosul from ISIL.
Speaking to Iraqi Kurdish online news website Rudaw, al-Nujaifi said Turkey had agreed to send weapons and supplies to recapture Mosul, which has been under the control of ISIL since June 2014.
Last week, Iraqi Vice President Usame al-Nujaifi met with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Ankara.
During the meeting, Turkey pledged “all kinds of support for stability of Iraq,” according to a Turkish official.